The Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) is a Top Secret/SCI network. Just like the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and the Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet), JWICS is basically the same thing with the exception of what it is used for. The JWICS is primarily used for file sharing to transmit information that is classified up to and including the “Top Secret” level of the United States government classification system. Information that is classified at this level would cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed to the public. There are about 1.4 million Americans who have top secret clearances. The JWICS is managed by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and used by members all across the intelligence community such as the United States Department of Defense (DoD), United States Department of State (DoS), United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The JWICS was also one of the networks that were accessed by Chelsea Manning.
The JWICS Verses the SIPRNet and the NIPRNet
All of these networks are for the most part the same with the exception of what they are used for. All of these networks have different levels of classification and that is why you are only given access if you have the proper clearance. These networks are air gapped from both each other and from any other IP networks. This is how it is supposed to be setup, however in reality there are gateways that connect most of them back to the regular Internet and possibly to each other which is why some people are able to gain unauthorized access into them.
Government Owned IP Networks
From what I can tell about all of the government owned IP networks is that they are all diverse and all appear to be used for different purposes. SIPRNet is used for the distribution of information that is classified at the “Secret” level, NIPRNet is used for the distribution of information that is sensitive but unclassified, and JWICS is used for the distribution of information that is classified at the “Top Secret” level. All of these networks also appear to be air gapped from both each other and any other IP network such as the Internet. Security is not taken lightly and people who have questions about the networks and who ask usually get ‘shot down’ for asking. It is not hard to find out information about these networks but then again it is not easy especially when it comes to the “more secure” networks such as SIPRNet and JWICS. All of these networks have been accessed by Chelsea Manning, who in 2010 leaked massive amounts of classified material, including the video used in Wikileaks’ Collateral murder and US diplomatic cables. Because Manning was able to access all of these networks and get away with what he did it is clear that security is still not taken seriously enough. From what I was able to find out about these networks none of them use biometrics, they all appear to use a standard keycard and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to authenticate, this is both good and bad just like in the ‘real world’. If you have stupid users who write down their PIN and leave their keycard out in the middle of nowhere for someone to simply pick up and use then it is going to be a problem; however, if you have smart users who memorize their PIN and keep their keycard with them at all times then it is not as big of a problem. I am for the government having these secure networks to communicate and share information securely as long as they are truly keeping the secrets to protect us. When the government starts keeping secrets for the sole purpose of spying on all of us and bringing harm to innocent people then that is when they cross the line and need to be put back in their place. Privacy is a constitutional right that the government is mandated to protect, not privileged to abuse.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! As always stay strong and keep the faith!