Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Navy Connects to Achieve Physical, Cyber and Energy Security at Naval District Washington

I posted on this NDW effort earlier this year, but now it appears they have accomplished a rather remarkable trifecta. By leveraging an already accredited (secure) command and control network, it appears the Navy NDW folks have achieved improved physical security capabilities, enhanced energy security through Smart, microgrid, and building management functions, and cybersecurity that has passed the scrutiny of the Common Criteria process for vetting the security robustness of important systems.

This is the first Navy site to complete the certification and accreditation process using a full enterprise approach. Here's how Richard Robishaw, regional operations director, puts it:

The control of a building's environment is very near and dear to the security side of the equation, because if you get a bad person in a building you control, you control how much light or heat or cool air that they are using. So having the Smart Grid on the security network was a great marriage; they want to use it to reduce cost, we want to use it for environment control in emergencies. So you have N3 - operations - and N4 - Facilities and Environmental - coming together with N6 - Information Technologies - being the conduit to both, with great communications happening between all three which have allowed for great ties happening with existing and future technologies.
It sounds so good; it must be marketing, right? I understand your skepticism, but I've been there and seen it with my own eyes, and this is quite real. Robishaw also noted:
...  by utilizing the NAVFAC AT/FP Ashore program, both Smart Grid and security personnel can securely perform similar tasks on a network resistant to cyber attack due to the robust technology they utilize. The result is not only a secure, but cost effective operation.
Part of the process is agreeing to allow the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to do "periodic, unannounced vulnerability assessments on connected host systems to determine effective security features and enhance Information Assurance posture." I think that's a great risk reducer if done well.

You may have heard of similar secure microgrid related work happening on the west coast in the form of DOD's SPIDERS program, which Dan Nolan commented on last year HERE. I understand that these two initiatives are in touch with each other to ensure neither one re-creates something the other has already achieved.

In the coming months, look for potential roll outs of NDW Smart Grid capabilities within and across the district, and potentially in a few years, throughout the Navy and DOD. Will be keeping an eye on these guys and will keep you posted for sure.

You can read the full Navy.mil article HERE.

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