Integrating the Front Line - Assured Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Interoperability
Beginning with the passage of the Computer Security Act of 1987 and continuing today, the U.S. Government has worked to both share and safeguard sensitive, unclassified information stored on its information systems. The dilemma posed by Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information—now renamed Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)—is how to:
- enforce the controls necessary to protect sensitive information;
- simultaneously protect the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of individuals; and
- provide efficient access to the information that the nation’s law enforcement, homeland security, and national security officials need to do their jobs.
Multiple SBU/CUI networks, portals, and systems currently exist with overlapping customers and content. The overarching need is for a federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officer or analyst to log-in once and be granted access to an interoperable and assured SBU/CUI environment, regardless of who owns the underlying systems.
Although this effort is also setting the foundation for a more robust, longer-term implementation based on common architecture and standards, the current focus is to address short-term needs through a series of “quick win” initiatives using LEO, RISS, HSIN, and Intelink-U as the platforms. An initial set of activities was completed during the of summer 2010 including:
- Gathering User Requirements. By analyzing input gathered from a publicly accessible website, this effort has identified almost 125 unique requirements that will form the basis for longer-term progress.
- Improving Network Usability for Frontline Personnel. The four participants will ensure that key capabilities (Search, Quick Links, White Pages, and e-mail) are visible on the network home page of each system.
- Sharing User and Service Directories. The four networks are working to provide each other with their user directories providing the foundation for an integrated, cross-network set of directories to help users more easily locate individuals or capabilities.
- Expanding Access to FBI Virtual Command Center. Intelink-U, RISS, and HSIN have announced the availability of this service to their user base and LEO has demonstrated the ability to establish a virtual command center in near-real time.
- Broadening Use of Protected e-mail. The four systems have exchanged e-mail routing information and have adopted an email awareness package that warns users of the potential for email to be sent in the clear over the open Internet.
- Improve Access to Help Desks. The networks are taking steps to simplify the way that users obtain assistance on the four systems. RISS has developed a procedural guide and Intelink has assembled a single presentation to be shared among all help desks.
Together, these initial successes provide meaningful assured interoperability to the frontline.