CDF: Transforming Data Sharing for Joint Task Force Missions

Common Data Fabric (CDF) is changing the way we share data. Here are some common questions about CDF and how it works by Crystal Funderburg, Business Systems Analyst  with Octo

By Crystal Funderburg, Business Systems Analyst 

Common Data Fabric (CDF) is changing the way we share data. Here are some common questions about CDF and how it works.

 1. What is CDF?

The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD((I&S))’s Common Data Fabric (CDF) is part of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise Digital Foundation. The purpose of CDF is to create interoperability among all Department of Defense (DoD) systems through a single connection to the enterprise. In addition, CDF offers scalability to provide data brokering across the enterprise as it grows.

 2. Why is CDF necessary?

Until recently, joint task force (JTF) warfighters have borne the cost of individually connecting systems, training the use of each new data source, and accessing these different sources to create intelligence products to accomplish joint missions. CDF overcomes the time-consuming, human-driven processes currently used across the enterprise that enable today’s point-to-point data sharing. With a single connection to CDF, Defense Intelligence Enterprise systems gain access to the entire data enterprise. CDF scales to support increased data sharing across the enterprise and incorporates each agency’s data policies to allow access, managing growth and reducing risk to the individual intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems and the JTF warfighters.

JFT Warfighter Common Data Fabric

 3. What happens if a CDF node goes down?

CDF platform architecture is distributed and self-healing. These features allow CDF to achieve the high availability ratings defined by the Federal Information Processing (FIPS) Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems (FIPS PUB 199). Data redundancy among the CDF nodes eliminates the risk of data loss impacting consumer ISR systems during a node outage. In addition to the architecture designed for 100% availability, CDF includes a Continuity of Operations (COOP) capability and a Helpdesk to support Defense Intelligence Enterprise missions worldwide.

 4. How do I gain access to a new data source in CDF?

CDF levels the data policy playing field because onboarding to CDF requires each system to execute a standard Data Sharing Agreement (DSA). CDF DSAs adhere to Joint doctrine and NIST guidance related to data sharing, securely enabling the DoD Data Strategy and USD(I&S)’s Project Herald. CDF brokers data according to secure governance and enhances interoperability in the Defense Intelligence Enterprise. Each consuming system’s DSA automatically enables its self-service access to all enterprise data matching the system’s enforcement capabilities.

 5. What makes Octo’s CDF so unique or innovative?

The market already includes technologies to ease the burden of connecting ISR systems to one another and to control access to data, but they mimic today’s process of establishing many individual system-to-system connections for data sharing. Octo’s approach to CDF is unique for Defense Intelligence Enterprise in that it delivers ALL available enterprise data to connected systems via a single connection, and it ensures data sharing occurs according to policy.

 6. How can an agency adopt CDF?

Agencies can adopt CDF in two ways: 1) connecting their ISR systems to USD(I&S)’s Defense Intelligence Enterprise CDF for machine-to-machine data sharing and/or 2) working with USD(I&S) to deploy their own CDF franchise platform.

To figure out which method makes sense for your agency or to learn more about CDF, reach out to our team.