HomeNewsArticle Display

DoD agency keeps file swaps safe


The Defense Information Systems Agency has taken over an online resource that allows Defense Department personnel to swap files too large to be sent by email.

Now in the wheelhouse of DISA, the file transfer capability has been rebranded DoD SAFE, or secure access file exchange. The DoD SAFE capability is part of DISA's Defense Collaboration Services suite of applications.

The file transfer capability was initially established about 18 years ago by the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC. SAFE initially stood for "safe access file exchange." It allowed users to transfer files as large as 2 gigabytes to other users.

"We specifically kept the name SAFE because we wanted people to associate it with the AMRDEC product and this was the follow-on to AMRDEC SAFE," said Mark Youmans, DISA enterprise-wide services development division chief. He said taking on the responsibility for SAFE made sense in the context of what the service does.

File transfers were "never AMRDEC's core function," Youmans said, adding that such work is the core function for DISA Enterprise Services. "So, the DoD (chief information officer) directed DISA to deploy SAFE earlier this calendar year."

Other changes to SAFE include an increase in the allowable file size to 8 gigabytes, the ability for users to continue to access files on the SAFE site for up to seven days, the ability to download a file multiple times and the ability to transfer up to 25 files at a time.

Additionally, security on the system has been enhanced. Now, files are encrypted "at rest" on the system, Youmans said. He explained this means users can transfer files with personally identifiable information or personal health information, and that the files are encrypted from sender to receiver.

"As the file sits out there on SAFE, it is not accessible to anybody, including system administrators," Youmans said.

Another security aspect of DoD SAFE is that it now requires that a common access card holder be involved.

"A DoD employee has to be in the loop," said Karl Kurz, chief engineer for the enterprise-wide services development division.

Kurz said this means that a Common Access Card 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.

"This service requires what we refer to as 'CAC in the middle,'" Kurz said.

According to a DISA message released in July, DoD SAFE is not intended to allow for transfer of files to classified domains.

From the user's perspective, said Youmans, the experience of using DoD SAFE will continue to be largely the same as when the system was operated by AMRDEC.

Kurz said that while the two systems will operate the same, they are completely different on the back end. He said DISA learned that Army Research Laboratory was using open-source software to perform a similar file-transfer function as what was needed for DoD SAFE. DISA partnered with ARL to reuse that software in a different capacity.

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.

According to Kurz, when the SAFE capability rested with AMRDEC, more than 11,000 "packages" were transferred each day — around 4.1 million a year. Additionally, some 600,000 unique users made use of the system in fiscal year 2018.

The AMRDEC SAFE website was disabled as of Aug. 15. The new DoD SAFE application is online at the new URL: https://safe.apps.mil.


Facebook Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: YOU are the most important reason for our mission success. Take care of each other & preserve the connections & commun…
RT @AirmanMagazine: When it comes to acquisitions, the @usairforce has the need for speed. Equipping Airmen with the best technology start…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: A distinct privilege to help unveil the F-117 exhibit, establishing this remarkable aircraft in its rightful place in…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “For me personally, the CAP and Air Guard go hand in hand. When I look back at any state active duty or state support we…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Honored to participate on a panel with my fellow Service Chiefs at the @ReaganInstitute. May our leaders of today & th…
It was just a childhood dream but it crescendoed into this #Airman becoming the only woman in the #AirForce to both… https://t.co/vzGjPe7Vri
RT @USAFReserve: Loadmaster first Reservist to complete USAF Weapons School Advanced Instructor Course (Story by the @403rdWing) #ReserveRe
.@secafoffical will speak about America’s footprint in space going forward at 5:45 EST. Watch live at https://t.co/aSlw5ceGJj
RT @DeptofDefense: LIVE: @EsperDoD delivers keynote remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum. #RNDF https://t.co/ZXhuaTOQTm
Today, we help Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, combat veteran and American legend, celebrate 💯 sorties aroun… https://t.co/bcmcDr4IYW
December 7, 1941. #PearlHarbor and six other #military bases on the Hawaiian island of Oahu were attacked, beginnin… https://t.co/4GvB8yPpGV
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Take a look at @usairforce Airmen assigned to the @109thAW using their ski-equipped C-130s to deliver supplies to the Arct…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Thank you to Gen CQ Brown & the @PACAF team for the outstanding work organizing one of largest gatherings of Pacific A…
RT @DeptofDefense: Flying side by side gets the mission done. @usairforce and @RoyalAirForce participated in exercise Point Blank with @NAT
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Getting to see a chaplain in a remote location is a #blessing. Archbishop of U.S. Military Services Timothy Broglio recently…
RT @AFWERX: Did you catch @EdwardsAFB’s first-ever @TEDx event? There’s no doubt their theme, “Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Innovat…
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to get motivated by watching this video of exercise #MobilityGuardian19, Air Mobility Command's largest full-sp…
.@SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett recently testified to the #SenateArmedServicesCommittee on privatized #military hou… https://t.co/XktLL4cXBB
RT @US_Stratcom: Whether it’s a defender, missile alert facility manager or a missileer, everyone is vital to the intercontinental ballisti…