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DIS database prevents technotheft.

From a business perspective, thriving in the post-Cold War era is difficult for many defense contractors who have been hit hard by cuts in defense spending. Industrial security remains crucial, but security efforts must be focused and cost-effective.

Changing times. Foreign intelligence has not disappeared with the Cold War. It is the nature of the threat which has changed and also its source. There is no longer one, easily recognized, monolithic adversary with its satellites. Instead, the foreign intelligence threat has become more difficult to define and to defend against because many foreign powers of widely differing political ideologies now seek to obtain U.S. classified defense information and to export restricted technology through unauthorized means. This nontraditional intelligence threat has always been with us, but it was over-shadowed - and therefore relegated to a lower priority - by the overwhelming nuclear and military threat posed by the former Soviet Union and its allies.

The Defense Investigative Service (DIS) has embarked on an ambitious reinvention effort to help keep U.S. defense contractors from falling victim to this form of espionage pushed forward into the spotlight. DIS is developing a counterintelligence research database tool to aid in identifying specific foreign intelligence collection threats to defense contractors. With this research tool - a database currently under development - DIS can assist these contractors in designing and implementing rational and cost-effective security counter-measures. DIS recognizes that reliable, usable intelligence data is essential for smart security decisions.

New threats. U.S. economic interests and the ability of American industry to compete in the world marketplace are now threatened, as are the lives of U.S. servicemen and women who are deployed worldwide and who depend on the superiority of American military technology for their safety and security.

DIS is committed to helping U.S. defense contractors defeat the foreign intelligence threat posed to their individual facilities and the technologies they employ. To do this effectively, DIS has been directed by the Department of Defense to acquire threat information from the intelligence community to determine which technologies and associated defense contractors are the targets of foreign intelligence activity. It will then be possible to provide assistance to those contractors in developing security countermeasures.

While the intelligence community can on occasion provide threat information that identifies a specific U.S. target, the intelligence community can more readily identify which technologies are being sought by a foreign power. Unfortunately, once this identification is made, there is no ready catalog for DIS to turn to which lists defense contractors by the technologies they employ.

Contractor database. Accordingly, DIS is in the process of developing a prototype for an automated database that will enable DIS and the U.S. counterintelligence community to identify those points at which three key elements converge. These elements are: the technology to be protected, the contractor facility employing the technology, and the awareness of a specific foreign intelligence threat to that contractor.

The projected completion date of this database tool is approximately one year from now. Much of the information needed for the database has already been provided by defense contractors. DIS will keep the amount of new information needed from companies to a minimum.

This information will, consist primarily of generic, nonproprietary descriptions of the technologies a company has developed or is developing that can be keyword searched by an analyst. It will be a narrow database requiring maintenance of a relatively small amount of information. However, the return that might be realized on this information could be significant. The database cannot but increase the effectiveness of those security countermeasures already protecting information and technology of great value to this country. The cooperation of all defense contractors is essential to the success of this DIS initiative.

John F. Donnelly is director of the Defense Investigative Service.
COPYRIGHT 1995 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Defense Investigative Service
Author:Donnelly, John F.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jan 1, 1995
Words:630
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