Multinational gov't agencies, vendors set electronic collaboration security plan

Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program is a shared effort between British and American defense agencies and aerospace partners

The Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program, an effort by British and American defense agencies and aerospace partners to develop more secure online communication, this week announced it has settled on a secure e-mail specification based on public-key infrastructure for future use.

The Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program, a shared effort between British and American defense agencies and aerospace partners to devise technologies for secure electronic collaboration, this week said the group has settled on a secure e-mail specification for future use.

The TSCP secure e-mail specification is a public-key infrastructure-based technology that assures the identities of authorized users by means of digital certificates that can encrypt and verify e-mail content. TCSP participants include the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD), Boeing, EADS, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Rolls-Royce.

The TSCP issued a statement indicating the Defense Department intends to eventually make use of it to protect information classified under Defense Department guidelines as “Controlled but Unclassified Information.” This includes the designations “For Official Use Only” and “Sensitive but Unclassified.”

The U.K. MoD indicated it would begin adoption later this year for classifications that the British military categorizes in its classification system as up to “U.K. Restricted.”

In a prepared statement, TSCP, based in Herndon, Va., said the expectation is that prime contractors will also adopt the specification on an ongoing basis across equivalent levels of proprietary information.

“Secure E-mail will become increasingly essential to do business with MoD,” John Cook, Info Advisor of the U.K. MoD said.

Paul Grant, deputy information sharing executive, Information Sharing Office in the office of the Defense Department CIO, stated TSCP is “transforming e-mail from one of the most extensively used but least trusted collaboration capabilities to one that can be trusted with sensitive information. This will serve as foundational for sharing ‘Controlled Unclassified Information’ without mission partners, which certainly includes out suppliers.”

The TSCP's public statement this week included prepared remarks from industry partners endorsing the secure e-mail specification.

Jim Cisneros, deputy CIO, Future Combat Systems at Boeing, and chair of the TSCP, stated that the “most basic collaboration tool is e-mail, but it was never designed for security.”

He added that “trusting the authenticity and accuracy of e-mails is imperative for government organizations, prime contractors and our suppliers to jointly develop new technologies and respond to emerging threats.”

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