Speeding Intelligence Insights Across Domains

Cross Domain Challenges

The IC is inundated with data, yet processes are often manual and far outstrip analysts’ ability to process information. Moreover, organizations maintain their data in siloed platforms. This relegates each stakeholder to a fragmented look at the intelligence picture rather than a holistic view. 

Where there is a validated mission requirement, Booz Allen has helped clients throughout the IC and Department of Defense securely transfer data across domains and between coordinating U.S. agencies around the world. In our work across national security and defense, we see three critical challenges.

Challenge #1: Outdated data sharing processes

Nearly every mission requires cross domain data flows moving up or down classification levels—typically across U.S. government unclassified; secret; or top secret/sensitive compartmented information (TS/SCI) networks. 

Yet the cross domain solutions (CDS) and guard technologies that facilitate information sharing are proprietary appliances that are not designed for the breadth of data types, volume of data, rapidly evolving mission/partner environments, or the speed of information sharing required by today's analysts and warfighters in evolving Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) environments.

Challenge #2: Inability to meet AI's insatiable need for data

AI and machine learning (AI/ML) are essential to find patterns, spot anomalies, and move toward predictive capabilities. However, enormous volumes of data are required to train and refine algorithms. That’s in addition to information that must be centralized for cross domain imperatives such as cybersecurity and JADC2.

Challenge #3: "One-off" software development

Software developers in the IC have been overloaded with workflows requiring custom applications to be developed and deployed in a complex operational environment, each undergoing separate security accreditation and authority to operate (ATO) processes.

Share Data Faster: Cross Domain Shared Services Framework

“Today’s systems are not agile enough to get data to the point of need. We open the way for open source,” says Melissa Sutherland, senior vice president who helps national security clients scale enterprise technology. The Cross Domain Shared Services Framework (CDSSF) is our solution to speed and simplify data sharing. Based on industry best practices, it’s a modernized distributed computing platform that enables cross domain information sharing at scale.

Today’s CDS cannot keep pace with evolving capabilities such as file types and data structures. Nor can they scale across the enterprise and provide the resiliency required to keep operating when subjected to unexpected stresses or adversarial attacks. In contrast, the CDSSF provides the automated workflows and modular elements required to stay ahead of mission demands. “Our solution enables revolutionary advances for the IC—bi-directional data flows, scalable, with the simplicity of an as-a-service construct,” says Melissa.

CDSSF delivers cross domain capabilities that integrate agile attributes. Here are a few highlights:

» Cloud-agnostic—Diverse missions and partners require capabilities beyond GovCloud, including connections to networks that link to networks at the tactical edge.

» Bi-directional flows—One solution enables the full lifecycle of mission needs such as DevSecOps, open-source intelligence, JADC2, mission planning, and intelligence collection.

» Multicloud and on-premise connections—Clients have the flexibility of setting disparate source and destination locations.

» Open platform—Built on government-owned off-the-shelf software, the solution provides cost savings without vendor lock.

» Modular architecture—Flexible, reusable components provide speed to mission, faster upgrades, and scalability for any complexity.

» Accreditations—CDSSF is accredited for Top Secret and Below Interoperability (TSABI), integrated with National Cross Domain Strategy and Management Office (NCDSMO) Raise the Bar (RTB) compliant guards and a proven track record in operations. 

The solution is accelerating outcomes for civilian and defense intelligence organizations, while giving them a flexible framework to support joint data operations. 

Propel Your Mission Forward

Modernize faster with our Intelligence Community Digital Transformation guide. 

Operationalize AI: DevSecOps in the IC

Cross domain operations require ongoing software development to accommodate evolving disciplines such as machine learning operations, which scale and standardize AI capabilities. Through adopting the flexibility of DevSecOps, organizations can ensure continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) of processes for moving information up the tech stack to classified levels. 

Our teams have experience helping the IC scale AI, analytics, and cloud and adopting processes for critical capabilities such as multi-int fusion. Our cross domain solution is another element of our holistic approach. “We have instantiations with geographically distributed, critical mission data centers. Since they’re modular, they rapidly adapt for new mission application user interfaces (API) and data types,” says Paul Chi, Booz Allen senior vice president and chief technology officer for intelligence clients.

We work with national security clients to provide agile technologies that scale for the future:

Modular to rapidly adapt to support new mission APIs and data types

Dynamic to adjust security policies to counter advanced cyber threats

Elastic to support expanding mission workloads 

Highly available to support worldwide, mission-critical data flows

Transforming Business Processes, Adopting Cloud Efficiencies

In addition to rapidly synchronizing mission data, DevSecOps capabilities allow the IC to transform its business processes. Specialists can develop unclassified and deploy classified, with low latency. This broadens the talent pool, opening the door to a hybrid cleared workforce—providing greater resilience for the IC’s business operations in addition to its digital operations.

Combining agile software processes with the CDSSF also allows the IC to transition to multicloud faster and reap the benefits of increased speed and flexibility across domains. “It doesn’t do much good to adopt agile processes and do a weekly scrum if it takes 3 or 4 days to upload data from unclassified to the high side,” says Paul. “Our cross domain services are timely for the IC as it enters the era of multicloud and higher cloud environments.” 

Melissa emphasizes the importance of modernizing cross domain data flows now to protect the future. “Modular transformation allows the IC to accommodate more data types, increasing speed to mission—getting data to the point of need to support decision makers,” she says. “It’s all about being able to take real-time action to thwart threats.”

Agile AI Example: Clairvoyant Tool Suite

Determined to move beyond custom applications that took months to deploy, an IC client came to us for a solution to operationalize AI/ML for mission-critical systems. We provided a DevOps tool suite to introduce flexible software capabilities to the IC:

  • A deployment framework including Kubernetes clusters to host containerized software
  • A CI/CD deployment pipeline with security checkpoints to automate accreditations
  • Program health monitoring and metrics

Result: National security teams are using Clairvoyant to rapidly deploy programs into operations enterprise-wide.

Discover more about the Clairvoyant tool suite.

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