DOD preps security instructions

Forthcoming Pentagon instructions will shed light on how Defense Department organizations are expected to ensure information is stored on DOD systems adequately.

The Pentagon initially issued a directive last October that gave a basic framework for providing information assurance (IA). DOD Directive 8500.1, which became effective Oct. 24, 2002, calls for information assurance requirements to be identified and included in the design, acquisition, installation, operation, upgrade and replacement of all DOD information systems.

DOD 8500.2 will provide more detailed instructions on how to carry the preceding policy and how it will be enforced.

The policy is expected to be delivered Jan. 23 to John Stenbit, the assistant secretary of Defense for command, control communications and intelligence (ASD/C3I) and DOD chief information officer, said Donald Jones, a member of the ASD/C3I IA directorate, adding that "with a little bit of luck, [8500.2] will be signed within one week."

Directive 8500.1 calls for all DOD components to follow the "defense-in-depth" approach to information security, which relies on proper operational procedures in conjunction with technologies, such as encryption and firewalls, to provide layered protection to all computers and networks.

The guidance also addresses supporting IA infrastructures that provide capabilities, such as public-key management and incident detection and response, according to a DOD spokesperson.

"The guidance was developed largely in response to changing security needs brought about by the DOD's growing dependence on interconnected information systems, particularly desktop computer networks, and increased concern about the protection of unclassified but sensitive information," the spokesperson said.

Jones said Directive 8500.1 lays out the policies and the instructions in 8500.2 will detail how to "enforce and implement those policies." He added that the DOD community has been receptive to the new IA directive and feedback has been positive, but everyone is anxiously awaiting the instructions.

"The big issue has been to get the instructions out," Jones said. "They can't implement the policies in 8500.1 until they get 8500.2...but that requires careful coordination" on many levels.

The 8500.2 instructions also include guidance on establishing detailed controls on the availability and integrity of DOD Web sites that post publicly releasable information, Jones said.

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