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PKI helps secure

Jan. 29, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
The Pentagon is looking to widen the net of professionals who use its technology acquisition system.
The Pentagon is looking to widen the net of professionals who use its technology acquisition system. (National Security Agency)

The Pentagon wants to expand its online community of program managers, software developers and others who have a role in acquiring information technology.

The community is centered around a collaborative content and knowledge management site called Community members can collaborate on open source and DoD community source software, as well as access social collaboration tools to communicate with people working to solve similar problems.

The site has only been available to U.S. military and Defense Department civilian and DoD contractors. Users must have a valid DoD Common Access Card (CAC) or an external PKI certificate issued by an approved federal agency, industry partner or external certificate authority. Digital certificates help to authenticate a user’s identity.

The Defense Information Systems Agency, which leads activities, is expanding its acceptance of PKI certificates issued by agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and companies like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, according to DISA.

“This addresses a huge community of folks that felt excluded by the requirement to either obtain a DoD issued CAC or purchase an External Certificate Authority (ECA) certificate from an approved vendor,” program manager Dan Gahafer said in a news release. “By accepting these credentials, we open up the family of services to a broader community while saving the government money.”

Today, the Pentagon’s list of approved entities for providing PKI certificates is small, but DISA hopes to change that. “Large system integrators and organizations who issue certificates that are interoperable with DoD PKI, can be accepted once integrated and set up for acceptance within,” according to DISA.

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