Overcoming the Challenges of Coalition Data Sharing

Feb 19, 2021

At its highest level, the alignment of strategic objectives, worldviews, and doctrines and the willingness of partner nations to work cooperatively to adopt and achieve them can make a coalition whole greater than the sum of its parts. As such, while the United States and other coalition partners necessarily retain the capability to act unilaterally for their own interests, building, maintaining, and improving allied and coalition partnerships is now vital for effective mission operations in contested environments.

However, there are, in practice, several challenges to implementing such a solution at scale for a more cohesive coalition operating environment, especially outside of the Five Eyes nations. Each nation and each level of command has its own requirements and policies, and as such, a variety of solutions that meet a different set of these requirements are needed to adequately assure both that the data flow is not disrupted and that unauthorized data is never leaked or transferred.

Overcoming these challenges is paramount to the U.S. coalition mission, and therefore in the interest of all coalition partners, including the U.S. This document is intended as both an elucidation of the political, technical, and operational challenges to secure coalition data sharing, as well as an investigation into the available solutions and existing models upon which to build a secure shared data environment.

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