DIACAP Essentials + IA Control Validation Training (part 4): DIACAP/AFCAP Day3

UPDAT: 2014 – Risk Management Framework for DOD IT released.

Day 3 heats up a little. We start talking about what it take to actually get validated. The DIACAP Implementers Guide & the DIACAP Validators guide is opened up and reviewed. I think we all learned a little something during this discussion because there have been some challenges with this. Unfortunately, we don’t to far into the validator stuff.

Day 3:

DIACAP Structure

Terminology Review

Assemble DIACAP Team

Registered System/System Information Profile

Assign IA Controls

Initiate DIACAP Implementation Plan

DIACAP Essentials + IA Control Validation Training (part 2): DIACAP/AFCAP Day1

This is the second installment of the DIACAP Essentials journal.

In the first day of class we’ve taken a high level look at the big picture of the Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification & Accreditation Process (DIACAP) and Air Force Certification & Accreditation Program (AFCAP). It is a very valuable tool for a beginner.

Since I’ve gone through the entire process (with a legacy system) more than once through all the growing pains of Air Force C&A from DITSCAP to DIACAP, I found that I knew about 90% of everything taught. I don’t mind having a refresher, though and quite frankly, I need the CPE’s for my CISSP :).

There were a couple of golden nuggets that I’ve been able to get out of some of the old timers. I learned some interesting things about how the Navy, Marines and Army do things.
Navy (as weird as their dumb ass rank system.. yep, I said it.. its dumb) have like three systems: DITPR-DON, DA-DUMB and some other BS, Marines have something called Exacta and the Army has APMS (Army Profile Management System). Also learned cool off topic stuff like history of eMass.

I must admit I’m looking forward to day two.
pros of day 1: Good solid start on basics GREAT for beginners. SecureInfo gets mad props for have a great instructor John M.(don’t know if he wants his full name published.. but he’s highly, highly knowledgeable and very positive).

cons of day 1: Right off the bat I am noticing a huge hole in the training… a lack of in depth teaching of EITDR, which is how the Air Force implements, manages and maintains the entire DIACAP/AFCAP process. I don’t really see how you can teach one without the other these days. I guess contractually, SecureInfo can not touch it since some other company has the contract. But unfortunately, the folks that are new to this are going to suffer. Because if they goto this class without knowing the EITDR they will know why but now how, and if they go to the EITDR class without knowing the DIACAP they will know how but not Why.

MS in Information Assurance or BS in Computer Science

I feel compelled to contribute something to humanity.

As a 15 year old street preacher, I was trying to help elevate humanity. When I look back at that kid now, I see the capacity for so much more but a lack of guidance that made my worldview grow wild. As a 20 year old airman, my world view was shaped and molded by discipline and the harsh, unrelenting realities of war and poverty.

The inescapable gravity of a child dying of an incurable disease in Africa is what prevents me from believing that this post-modern world can fit into a literal translation of ANY religious text. I don’t want to get into theology or philosophy too much on this blog, but I think it is relevant to this post.

Here I am now in my 30’s looking back at my life and at humanity as a whole and feeling (knowing) we can do so much better. I want to some how prove it to myself and humanity, but I’m a mere cubicle cog. What can I do? I’ve decided to go back to school, but I don’t want to knock out a 1 1/2 long MS Information Assurance degree. I want to get into science & math because they seem to be the two systems of study most like to limit human suffering and give us answers about who and what life it.

I don’t want (or really need) another industry type degree. If I go for a computer science or computer engineering, it won’t be for more money, or corporate movement to a better cubicle, it will be to have the privilege of understanding and perhaps even to create something that will help us evolve to our greatest potential and limit (if not end) human suffering.

I still want to dabble in security. I’m simply expanding the reach of my capacity to contribute to our movement upward.

Certification & Accreditation Change

Standard-issue security
Certification and accreditation process for national security systems to extend to the rest of government. A two-year-old effort to standardize processes for certifying and accrediting government IT systems could soon bear fruit, according to officials from several agencies.

The Committee on National Security Systems is preparing instructions for implementing a unified certification and accreditation (C&A) process that could be used on all national security systems, including those in the Defense Department and intelligence community, said Tony Cornish, chairman of the CNSS’ C&A working group.

At the same time, the National Institute of Standards and Technology plans to update its C&A guidance for systems covered by the Federal Information Security Management Act, said Ron Ross, a senior computer scientist and FISMA implementation lead at NIST.

“We are very close to producing a unified C&A process for the entire federal government,” Ross said in July at a government security symposium hosted by Symantec. “Within the next six to eight months, you are going to see a plethora of new things coming out” from CNSS and NIST.

CNSS’ instructions will be incorporated into NIST guidelines in its 800 series of special publications. Ross said a major update of SP 800-53 Rev. 2, “Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems,” is expected in December, and a draft of the first revision of SP 800-37, “Guide for the Security Certification and Accreditation of Federal Information Systems,” is expected to be released for comment soon.

A single, governmentwide approach would make it easier for agencies to share data and cooperate with one another and with states, foreign allies and the private sector.

It could enable reciprocity, or the acceptance of other agencies’ C&A processes, without requiring recertification, and also could streamline acquisition processes by making it easier for vendors and developers to meet one set of standards.

C&A is a process for ensuring that IT systems are operating with an appropriate level of security. In the certification phase, the security of the system is documented; for accreditation, a designated authority signs off on the system’s fitness to go into operation. The concept has been around for some time, but there has been little standardization.

“In the past, we each had our own set of policies, and we didn’t look at each other’s,” said Sherrill Nicely, deputy associate director of national intelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

FISMA requires C&A of information technology systems, but that does not apply to national security systems. And within the national security community, the military and intelligence sectors each have had their own way of doing things.

“Since about 1993, the Defense Department had its program, the Defense IT Security Certification and Accreditation Process,” said Eustace King, DOD chief of acquisition and technology oversight. “It worked pretty well” in a time before DOD’s emphasis on network- centric systems and information sharing, but it lacked enterprise visibility.

That C&A program was replaced with the Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process. DOD was moving to the program in 2006 to harmonize military and intelligence processes when, a year later, it was expanded to include the rest of the national security community by bringing in the CNSS.

Through NIST, C&A procedures eventually will be standardized across all of government. However, policies do not change mind-sets, and old habits still remain one of the primary challenges to a standardized process. At DOD, there is a reluctance to accept reciprocity — that is, to give full credit to another agency’s C&A process without recertification, King said.

The intelligence community faces a similar hurdle, said Sharon Ehlers, an assistant deputy associate director of national intelligence.

“The cultural change has been the biggest challenge,” Ehlers said. “When it is not invented here, people don’t want to look at it.”

Approved IA Products

IA Control – DCAS-1, Acquisition Standards Security Design

This does not apply to EVERY type of devices and/or applications only IA Products (firewalls, IDS, anti-virus ect) and IA-Enabled products (operating systems, Routers, DBMS ect). If the IA Enabled product lets say a router will be used as a dumb device like a hub in which it is just passing data between two stand alone computers (no connection to the Internet or major LAN) you probably don’t need to worry about most of this. All systems that are IA-Enabled or IA Products (defined below) that require the use of IA capabilities must match IA “protection profiles” for a particular technology. In other words, if you have a firewall (which is an IA Product) it has to have all of the security, cryptological and robust features detailed in the applicable NIAP firewall list of features better known as protection profiles. I wish it were that simple. But the firewall in the example above also has to comply with the evaluation and validation requirements of NSTISSP No. 11 which states that the firewall you bought must have a Common Criteria evaluation. Furthermore, each branch of the DoD has a list of products that they prefer that you purchase due to contractual arrangements. In the end your best bet is to only buy IA-Enabled and IA Products that have an IA capability (will protect data in some way) that are on this site http://www.niap-ccevs.org or have been accredited in accordance with the Common Criteria. If the device is not on the NIAP site you may able to find something close by googling “[YOUR PRODUCT Common Criteria]”. Also, keep in mind that all operating systems may have to have anti-virus applications that must also meettheir protection profiles.

Protection Profiles: http://www.niap-ccevs.org/cc-scheme/pp/index.cfm

Products used within the Department of Defense may be submitted for evaluation at evaluation assurance levels (EALs) 1-7 through the NIAP Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme (CCEVS). Alternatively, the United States recognizes products that have been evaluated under the sponsorship of other signatories and in accordance with the International Common Criteria E2.1.30.

IA-Enabled Product. Product or technology whose primary role is not security, but which provides security services as an associated feature of its intended operating capabilities. Examples include such products as security-enabled web browsers, screening routers, trusted operating systems, and security-enabled messaging systems. E2.1.29.

IA Product. Product or technology whose primary purpose is to provide security services (e.g., confidentiality, authentication, integrity, access control or non-repudiation of data); correct known vulnerabilities; and/or provide layered defense against various categories of non-authorized or malicious penetrations of information systems or networks. Examples include such products as data/network encryptors, firewalls, and intrusion detection devices. (DoDI 8500.2) http://www.niap-ccevs.org/cc-scheme/

Product Specification and Evaluation

(DoDI 8500.2) E3.2.5. Product Specification and Evaluation. At the enterprise level, implementation-independent specifications for IA and IA-enabled IT products are provided in the form of protection profiles. Protection profiles are developed in accordance with the Common Criteria (reference (j)) within the NIAP framework. Regardless of the mission assurance category or confidentiality level of the DoD information system, all incorporated IA products, and IA-enabled IT products that require use of the product’s IA capabilities, acquired under contracts executed after July 1, 2002, shall comply with the evaluation and validation requirements of NSTISSP No. 11 (reference (ah)), with the following qualifications: E3.2.5.1. If an approved U.S. Government protection profile exists for a particular technology area and there are validated products available for use that match the protection profile description, then acquisition is restricted to those products; or to products that vendors, prior to purchase, submit for evaluation and validation to a security target written against the approved protection profile. Products used within the Department of Defense may be submitted for evaluation at evaluation assurance levels (EALs) 1-7 through the NIAP Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme (CCEVS). Alternatively, the United States recognizes products that have been evaluated under the sponsorship of other signatories and in accordance with the International Common Criteria for Information Security Technology Evaluation Recognition Arrangement (CCRA) for EALs 1-4 only. E3.2.5.2. If an approved U.S. Government protection profile exists for a particular technology area, but no validated products that conform to the protection profile are available for use, the acquiring organization must require, prior to purchase, that vendors submit their products for evaluation and validation by a NIAP EVP or CCRA laboratory to a security target written against the approved protection profile or acquire other U.S.-recognized products that have been evaluated under the sponsorship of other signatories to the CCRA. E3.2.5.3. If no U.S. Government protection profile exists for a particular technology area and the acquiring organization chooses not to acquire products that have been evaluated by the NIAP CCEVS or CCRA laboratories, then the acquiring organization must require, prior to purchase, that vendors provide a security target that describes the security attributes of their products, and that vendors submit their products for evaluation and validation at a DAA-approved EAL. Robustness requirements, mission, and customer needs will together enable an experienced information systems security engineer to recommend a specific EAL for a particular product to the DAA.

(edited: 29 August 2011. Fixed some text. Clarified some issues.)

DIACAP Activity #1 Initiate and Plan Certification & Accreditation

Initiating the Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification & Accreditation Process (DIACAP) starts with a lot of “setting up shop”. Registering with a DoD component, forming the IA Team and assigning IA controls (also known as IA requirements and security controls) can be a lot of work, but the more of these tasks you complete, the easier the rest of the process will be.

Register the System with DoD IA Component

Each branch of the military has an IA component. Each of the US Armed Services have a division under their respective chief information officer’s responsible for all computers, communications and networks in a given military branch. These communications divisions will house the Information Assurance component responsible for the DIACAP tasks.

Table 1. DoD IA Components

DoD Branch Branch Communication & Information Service Branch IA Component
US Air Force Air Force Communication Agency (AFCA)http://public.afca.af.mil/ AFCA/EVAssessment and Validatorshttp://public.afca.af.mil/library/
US Army *Army NETCOM 9th Signal Corps http://www.netcom.army.mil/ Army NETCOM Information Assurance Office
Department of the Navy DON CIODON Information Management and Information Technology (IM/IT)http://www.doncio.navy.mil DON SIAOhttp://www.doncio.navy.mil/Main.aspx

*more on Army NETCOM

More on Registering with your IA Component

Once you’ve made contact with your system’s IA Component you may be asked to identify the players in your DIACAP Team. The DIACAP Team roles will consist of a Designated Approval Authority (DAA), Program Manager (PM), Certifying Authority (CA), User Rep, Information Assurance Manager and others. You will also need to identify other important players such as the Lead Engineer.

More on DIACAP Team Roles.

Get an Enterprise Mission Assurance Support Service (eMASS) account

The Enterprise Mission Assurance Support Service (eMASS) is a generic name for specific automated databases that are used to manage the DIACAP. Each branch has a different automated database (Fig 1). The USAF has the EITDR, The Navy has the DITPR-DON, and the Army has the APMS. Each of these databases satisfies DoD IT portfolio management, certification and IT reporting directives addressed in DoD Directive 8115.01, signed October 10, 2005.

Fig 1, DoD IT Portfolio Management System

eMASS IT Portfolio Management System

More on the eMASS systems.

Assign IA Controls

Information Assurance Controls are also known as Information Assurance requirements and security controls. IA Controls are assigned according to a system’s Mission Assurance Category (MAC) and Confidentiality Levels (Fig 2.) defined in DoDI 8500.2. The DIACAP Knowledge Service has Excel spread sheets breaking down each of the IA Controls.

Fig. 2, Mission Assurance Category & Confidentiality Levels

Mission Assurance Category (MAC) Confidentiality Levels

Some of the IA Controls require system security engineering interpretation because no system is alike. Some IA Controls will not apply while other will apply only under certain circumstances and that is where knowledgeable system & system security engineer comes in.



DoDI 8500.2, Enclosure 4

Initiate DIACAP Implementation Plan

With the proper MAC/CL level applied, the system security specialist/engineer and/or technician should have a good idea what IA Controls apply to a given system. The next step is to begin the DIACAP Implementation Plan.

The DIACAP Knowledge Service has a thorough break down of each of the IA Controls and how to accomplish and validate them. Once complete, your system’s DIACAP Implementation Plan should identify each of the applicable IA Controls, whether the system is compliant or not and when it will be compliant with those particular IA Controls.

Initiation of the DIACAP Plan means you are consulting developers and or Program Managers on the IA Controls that will affect the system. Both new systems, and existing legacy systems will require some sort of documentation whether a simple spreadsheet, or Word document detailing who, what, when and where of each IA Control feature applied to the system. The DIACAP Knowledge Service has a sample DIACAP Implementation Plan spread sheet that thoroughly details all the above requirements. It can be downloaded and tailored easily to your specific systems needs.

Once registered, the eMASS (EITDR, DITPR-DON, and APFM) system will require that you upload your completed DIACAP Implementation Plan (which is a bit of a paradox because the EITDR can actually create a DIACAP package once certain data is uploaded, validated and approved. EITDR will also require that the IA Controls be addressed and validated individually and subsequently Reviewed, Validated and Approved by system stakeholders.

Deliverables for Activity #1:DIACAP System Identification Profile (SIP)

DIACAP Implementation Plan

USAF SISSU Stakeholder’s List (Air Force)


DoD Regulation 5200.1-R , “DoD Information Security Program,” January 1997

DoDD 8115.01, “Information Technology Portfolio Management”, dated October 10, 2005

DoDD 8500.01E, “Information Assurance (IA),” dated April 23, 2007

DoD 8510.1-M, “DoD Information Technology Security Certification and Accreditation Process (DITSCAP) Application Document”, dated July 31, 2000

DoDI 8551.1, “Ports, Protocols, and Services Management (PPSM) Release 6.9,” dated September, 2007

DoDD 8570.1, “Information Assurance Training, Certification, and Workforce Management,” dated August 15, 2004

DoDI 8570.1-M “Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program,” dated December 19, 2005

Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, “Information Technology Portfolio Management,” March 22, 2004

Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) (2002)

Information Assurance Support Environment (IASE)