Government agencies establish e-collaboration security plan

A secure e-mail specification for future use has been selected by The Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program, a shared effort between British and American defence agencies and aerospace partners to devise technologies for secure electronic collaboration.

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 our 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.”

Related content:

What government users need to know about e-mail

Global government-industry security group expands

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