DOD looks to new analytics center to tackle insider threat

The Defense Insider Threat Management and Analysis Center is meant to be predictive rather than reactive, with the help of advances in big data.

Shutterstock image (by adhike): hacker over a screen with binary code.

Defense Department officials hope a nascent analytics center will be a potent weapon in their war against unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information and other insider threats.

The Defense Insider Threat Management and Analysis Center (DITMAC) is meant to be predictive rather than reactive, with the help of big data advances and forthcoming policy guidance.

“We’re very good at preventing what’s already happened from happening again,” said Mark Nehmer, DITMAC’s deputy chief of implementation, “and what we’re working on now is preventing what we haven’t seen before from starting to happen.” He spoke July 16 at a Defense One event in Arlington, Va.

The analysis center grew out of a recommendation of the Pentagon review of the 2013 Navy Yard shooting. Last December, then-Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers directed the Defense Security Service to establish the DITMAC. The center is meant to provide a clearer view of the severity of myriad insider threats across the bureaucracy. DOD components will funnel insider-threat data to the DITMAC, which will query internal DOD records and outside information, analyze it, and send it back to the components for action, Nehmer explained. The analysis center will have “initial operating capability” in the fall, he said.

The DITMAC is in some ways the fulcrum of the Pentagon’s efforts to manage “the insider threat,” a broad term that encompasses everything from leaking sensitive information to journalists to physical threats to government facilities. “DITMAC operations, metrics and case studies will inform, support and enable [the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence’s] management and oversight of DOD’s insider threat program,” defense officials said in a recent Government Accountability Office report.

But the DITMAC is just getting off the ground. Officials are still sorting out how it will interact with existing insider threat measures, said Carrie Wibben, director of the Security Policy and Oversight Division at OUSD(I). “We don’t want, for example, every single [DOD] component standing up their own IT system related to insider threat because then we have 42-plus to try to integrate and make interoperable,” she said at the Defense One event.

The panel of officials acknowledged that collecting and analyzing more data on their employees risked at least a perception of being stifling or overbearing. Patricia Larsen, an intelligence official who co-directs the National Insider Threat Task Force, framed it as a question of messaging. The message to the national security workforce should stress that insider threat programs are about “protecting the integrity of the workforce and the people and the information and the facilities that we have invested so much in,” she said.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told FCW that intelligence officials are aware of the risk of alienating employees with constant monitoring. “I think that the ODNI folks are attuned to that hazard because it poses a risk to their whole enterprise,” he said. “If the insider threat program becomes too intrusive and too invasive, people are going to walk away, especially people who have options to work elsewhere are going to say, ‘I don’t want to put up with this.’”

Information sharing across DOD agencies looks to be a key hurdle to improving insider threat programs. A GAO analysis published July 16 concluded that “DOD officials are not consistently using existing mechanisms to share information, such as lessons-learned information systems and antiterrorism web portals. Unless the military services consistently use existing mechanisms to share information on insider threats, U.S. installations may miss opportunities to enhance the department’s ability to protect the force against such threats.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.