Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology


Information and Decision Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Son, Joon


Multi-level security is prevalent within the military; however, the private sector has not yet invested in the approach. As big data, Internet of things, and artificial intelligence drive businesses to collaborate (share data, algorithms, and tools) the need to secure such resources while simultaneously sharing them will push towards an alternative approach-–namely Multi-level security. The military labels data according to the sensitivity it carries as related to national security. Furthermore, the military restricts access by both the overall trust in the individual and by their need-to-know. To put it another way, data has a certain level of sensitivity and only those individuals that can be trusted with the data and have a need-to-know shall have access to such data. Military organizations not only limit access to digital data but also to sensitive discussions, often having sensitive talks within a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility referred to as a SCIF. Irrespective of the media, all data must be secured and disseminated in order to produce value. Inaccessible data has no real value, as data must be accessible in order to be actionable and produce value. Along the same lines, data often requires aggregation to become actionable.

Creating a security domain with multiple levels of trust and need-to-know ensures that data can both be accessed and aggregated. Multi-level secure domains exist in military organizations today, however, the challenge arises when two domains want to share data—hence the need for multi-level secure data dissemination. One way to accomplish this objective is for Domain X to contact Domain Y and together identify how their two security domains can map to one another. After determining the mapping Domain X can send Domain Y data, however, what if Domain Z wants access to the same data? Should Domain Z request the data from Domain Y? Would Domain Y violate the trust of Domain X, if Domain Y disseminates the data? Perhaps, Domain Z is only cleared to a portion of the data. These are the issues related to the dissemination of MLS data within a multi-domain environment.

The objective of this project is to propose a solution that would allow domains to securely disseminate data without the need to repackage the data for each domain. The solution outlined in this project, leverages Simple Public Key certificates, Active Bundle, and a directory server. When combined, the three technologies allow domains: to convey both trust and authorization policies, learn about trust and authorization policies of external domains, and provide a mechanism to securely disseminate data.