24 May 2007

Government sources

DISN Data Services, Department of Defense, United States

“The Defense Information System Network (DISN) provides interoperable, secure Internet Protocol (IP) data communications services.

“NIPRNet: the Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet) provides seamless interoperability for unclassified combat support applications, as well as controlled access to the Internet.

“SIPRNet: The Secret IP Router Network (SIPRNet) is DoD’s largest interoperable command and control data network, supporting the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), the Defense Message System (DMS), collaborative planning and numerous other classified warfighter applications.”

Analysis and commentary

Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET),

Dated article. “The Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) has matured to be the core of our warfighting command and control capability.”

SIPRNet, Wikipedia

“The SIPRNet (Secret [formerly Secure] Internet Protocol Router Network) is a system of interconnected computer networks used by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State to transmit classified information (up to and including information classified SECRET) by packet switching over the TCP/IP protocols in a “completely secure” environment. It also provides services such as hypertext documents and electronic mail. In other words, the SIPRNet is the DoD’s classified version of the civilian Internet together with its counterpart, the Top Secret and SCI Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, JWICS.

“SIPRNet hosts a forum called CAVNET which is used in Iraq to share Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures data. The network supports a variety of Defense Department networks and systems, such as:

Australia and SIPRNET


PM slams Pentagon spy delays, Dennis Shanahan, The Australian, 4 October 2006

“John Howard has attacked the Pentagon for ignoring an order from George W. Bush to share top-level intelligence on Iraq with Australia’s military planners, forcing the Prime Minister to complain to the US President. Mr Howard confirmed yesterday he was angry at the Pentagon’s decision to restrict Australia’s access to its intelligence network on Iraq, and said he had complained directly to Mr Bush twice to clear the military veto. ‘Some of these agencies operate like a law unto themselves,’ he said yesterday. ‘I wasn’t very happy with those delays.’ In an extraordinary attack on the defence chiefs of Australia’s closest military ally, Mr Howard said he had protested to Mr Bush to ensure Australia had unfettered access to the network.

“In July 2004, Mr Bush signed a directive supported by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and acting Central Intelligence Agency director John McLaughlin stipulating that laws preventing foreign powers seeing highly classified intelligence would no longer apply to Australia and Britain when they were planning for combat operations, training with the Americans or engaged in counter-terrorism activities. But Mr Howard was forced to intervene a second time some months later when it became clear the US military headquarters was still delaying, despite the White House request.

“‘The point I made was that the commitment the President gave to me had to be delivered,” Mr Howard said. “That’s why I intervened, and I am now advised the flows are occurring that are meant to occur. Bear in mind Australia and Britain are given specially privileged access to American intelligence assessments. There is always a degree of inter-agency jealousy about anybody having access to these things, even very close allies, and it did take a lot of pushing. Even the President doesn’t always get what he wants straight away.’

“In September last year, The Australian revealed that Mr Bush had issued a decree upgrading Australia to the highest rank of intelligence partner the US has in the world – with resistance from US intelligence agencies. This rendition of events concurs with the latest revelations from Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in his book State of Denial, which chronicles the internal battles of the Bush administration and how these hampered the war effort.

“Hugh White of the Australian National University, a former Defence Department deputy secretary for strategy and intelligence, told The Australian that Canberra had always had to battle for access to US intelligence and details of US planning in coalition operations. ‘The Government sometimes claims that under its stewardship the alliance has changed fundamentally and become much closer,’ Professor White said. ‘This (Woodward’s account) suggests that this is not the case.'”

State of Denial, Bob Woodward, Simon and Schuster, 2006

“One of the most inexcusable examples of failure to et things done, [Frank] Miller [chair of the Executive Steering Group for Iraq] felt, had to do with the classified Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET), which was used to store and communicate information about intelligence, operations orders and technical data. The classified information on the SIPRNET had a caveat – “NOFORN” – meaning no foreigners were allowed access, a restriction that included even the british and Australian troops fighting alongside the Americans in Iraq.

“At times it went beyond the absurd. British pilots flying American warplanes, F-117s and F-15Es, weren’t allowed to read parts of the classified pilot manuals and maintenance manuals because they were marked NOFORN. In another case, raw intelligence data gathered by British intelligence operatives in Iraq was given to the U.S. intelligence fusion center that was supposed to merge all-source intelligence into one product. The report came out and the British couldn’t see it, let alone get a copy, because it was marked NOFORN.

“Prime Minister Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard complained directly to the president about the issue several times. In July 2004, Bush signed a directive, supported by Rumsfeld and John McLaughlin as acting director of Central Intelligence, that said NOFORN would no longer apply to the British and Australians when they were planning for combat operations, training with the Americans or engaged in counterterrorism activities. Bush told Blair and Howard about the directive, saying, ‘I’ve just signed something out.’ Problem solved.

“But Miller soon discovered that instead of giving the Brits and Aussies access, the Pentagon began creating a new, separate SIPRNET for them. The SIPRNET had years of information stored  on it and the U.S. military did not want to give it to the Britsih and Australians. It could take years to sort and comb through it all. The president’s orders were for put  the British and Australians on the real SIPRNET, not create a new version for them.  The problem dragged on. Months later it was not fixed.” (pp. 318-9)

“[January 2005] Miller was still on his mission to implement the president’s order allowing the British and Australians access to the full secret SIPRNET military network. Hew went to a meeting at the Pentagon with some of the key civilians and Joint Staff officers dealing with the issue. he read both Rumsfeld’s and the president’s directives to the group.

“‘You don’t mean unfettered access,’ said one of the three-stars on the Joint Staff.  ‘If the President or the Secretary of Defence had wanted to say give them access according to the following limitations, they would have said so,’ Miller replied looking staright at the general. ‘This is an interagency cleared document. Your people signed up to it. Access means access. What about ‘access’ don’t you understand?'” (p. 380)

The partnership: the inside story of the US-Australian alliance under Bush and Howard, Greg Sheridan, UNSW Press, 2006

“In July of 2004 US President George W Bush sent a one-page presidential directive to the US Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. It instructed them to upgrade intelligence cooperation and access for the Australians. Its purpose was to alter, by presidential directive, US national disclosure policy. From this day forward Australians were to have access to virtually everything in the American intelligence system concerning international terrorism and joint military operations. material previously classified as ‘No Forg’*, meaning to be seen by no foreign eyes, would henceforth be available to Australians.”

“Part of the extraordinary new intelligence closeness involved increased Australian access to US information systems themselves. This is new and uncharted territory in intelligence cooperation. The normal way is that the Americans collect vast amounts of information and then give Canberra material which is relevant to its known interests, or which Canberra asks for, or which they think Canberra may find useful. The new idea is that Australians would be directly plugged into the American system and take what they want, within limits and protocols.

“Now, Australian forces in the Middle East, in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, get direct battle space information from the central American surveillance and intelligence systems. There’s no question of asking for the information. The Australians have automatic access to it. Of course Australia-US defence intelligence cooperation has a long history, and the Americans would always want to give a close ally like Australia militarily useful information in a conflict. But the speed and comprehensiveness of their Australians having their own access is priceless. It also makes our forces extremely attractive for other coalition partners to work with.

“The former defence minister, Robert Hill, told me: ‘In recent years we have obtained unprecedented access to US intelligence and tactical planning. This is access to the greatest repository of information that exists.'” (pp. 98-100)

*Sheridan subsequently noted that “NOFORG” should have been “NOFORN”. NOFORN  stands for “Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals”.

See also