27 Aug 2019

US DOD upgrades file transfer system to increase security

The US DOD has adopted a new file exchange system to increase security and accommodate larger files.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has implemented SAFE (Secure Access File Exchange) to file exchange systems to improve security on larger transfers. The programme allows the transfer of files too large to be sent by email.

DOD SAFE allows files up to eight gigabytes to be sent, as well as allowing up to 25 files can be sent at once and downloaded multiple times. The files will be encrypted and will be sent with personally identifiable information and can only be sent if a Common Access Cardholder (CAC) is present.

A CAC holder has to be the person who transfers the file, or, if a file transfer is going to go from a non-CAC holder to a CAC holder, the CAC holder has to request the transfer. The non-CAC holder will then get instructions on how to proceed.

The file transfer capability was initially established about 18 years ago by the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC. The AMRDEC SAFE website was disabled as of Aug. 15 and the new DOD SAFE application is online now at the new URL: https://safe.apps.mil.

According to a DISA message released just last month, DOD SAFE is not intended to allow for the transfer of files to classified domains. From the user’s perspective, the experience of using DOD SAFE will continue to be largely the same as when the system was operated by AMRDEC.

Changes to that software included making it compliant to operate in the DISA environment, enabling it to securely transfer information and to scale it to the number of users expected on DOD SAFE. The programme has already proved successful in its previous capacity and it is hoped that the system will ensure a safer exchange of information for the DOD in the future.

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