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[ISN] DOD must fix product security evaluation process, officials say
By Jason Miller
January 22, 2008
The Defense Departments process for evaluating products to ensure they
meet the agencys information technology security requirements is broken.
But senior DOD leaders say a fix is on the way.
Richard Hale, the Defense Information Systems Agencys chief of
information assurance, said the services too often analyze products
after they have been certified by the National Information Assurance
Partnership (NIAP), which is run by the National Security Agency.
We tried to come up with a single evaluation process for everyone, but
NIAP hasnt done what we wanted it to do, Hale said today during a lunch
discussion sponsored by AFCEAs Washington chapter in Arlington, Va. We
would want a single entity to approve for all of DOD and maybe the
Hale said that even after NIAP certifies a product, services retest it
based on their specific criteria.
He said he would like to see services analyze products based on their
mission risk but accept basic security evaluations done by NIAP.
Speed is what we are after, he said. If you cant deploy until you finish
an internal evaluation and certification and accreditation that takes
Hale said the work being done by Dale Meyerrose, chief information
officer at the Office of the Director for National Intelligence, should
lead to a single entity and a single set of standards for certification
and accreditation in addition to testing.
He said a draft set of information assurance controls is making its way
around agencies for comment. A working group consisting of members from
ODNI, DOD, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology
developed the standard.
These standards may not completely take care of the NIAP problem, but it
will help, Hale said.
The Army is leading an effort to test and evaluate and certify and
accredit software Defense-wide, and that experience may also help this
problem, Hale said.
Hank Beebe, technical director for command and control programs, said
once the Armys operational testing authority approves software, the rest
of the services testing authorities dont need to re-evaluate it.
We arent there yet for C&A, but we are working hard toward it, Beebe
The Federated Development and Certification Environment (FDCE) started
in 2004 but really got going in the past year or so, Hale said.
The process brings all stakeholders - developers, users, testers,
security and otherstogether as software is developed so it can be
brought to use more quickly.
We are starting to use uniform security controls and develop specifics
of the certification process as a part of the FDCE, Hale said.
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