Safeguarding the MOD Core Network – The Roles and Responsibilities of a JSP 604 Case Officer 

Published on: June 6,2023 Published in: Cyber Security Insights News

As a Cyber Security and Information Assurance partner to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), i3Secure is dedicated to helping safeguard the integrity of digital tools and applications within Defence Digital. Our specialist Joint Service Publication (JSP) 604 Case Officers work within the MOD to help secure ICT systems by applying the principles of JSP 604 to get systems assured on time, and in scope.

We asked experienced JSP 604 Case Officer and i3Secure Consultant Lee Close what it’s like working in the role and what sort of expertise is necessary to navigate the intricacies of this rule set.

What is the JSP 604 and what is its purpose? 

The JSP 604 enforces the principles of safe environment, safe activity, used across the Ministry of Defence. By applying a substantial quantity of rules to a process of migration or integration to the MOD digital tools and applications, the JSP 604 protects the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability (CIA) of the MOD Core Network. 

In this modern age, the digital enemy we face in conflict is more likely to attack our ability to organise and manage our capabilities than attack with conventional weapons. The JSP 604 places a safety process around our digital capabilities and protects them from these attacks; disabling their ability to disrupt and harass.  

What is a JSP 604 Case Officer? 

Case Officers are responsible for communicating directly with the Network Operating Authority (NOA) on behalf of the capability owners. A Case Officer will assess their capabilities on behalf of the NOA and provide guidance and direction, ensuring that they are prepared for their migration or integration onto the MOD Core Network. This process will take months of preparation. At the point of applying for Authority to Test or to Operate, the 604 Case Officer will present evidence to the board through a document and with a physical delivery to allow the board to question, comment and authorise the applications or tools to be connected to the MOD Core Network. 

Application owners can find it extremely difficult to navigate the rules and process of accessing the MOD core network and so the Case Officer provides guidance and clarity, which can otherwise cause severe delays to a project. They also provide the NOA with a level of assurance that the evidence has been gained correctly, allowing them to streamline the process for onboarding, and assisting with the backlog of applications attempting to join. 

What does day-to-day look like? 

To guide and direct activity in support of a successful migration, a JSP 604 Case Officer will attend the weekly Security Coordination Meetings with each of the applications they are responsible for. They are required to track the activity that they direct and help the capability owner to cohere the evidence that will later be used to complete the submission they present to the board for acceptance.  

The Case Officer will be part of a larger project team that is responsible for assisting Defence Digital to overcome a specific issue, such as cost saving, streamlining, or economising the way the MOD does business. This requires the Case Officer to attend weekly meetings providing progress reports, challenges, and constraints to their part of the project.  

Is the JSP 604 Case Officer role busy? 

Yes, once the Case Officer has understood the process and created the required contacts, they will be required to ensure that all clients are delivered within time, requiring time management and communication skills.

What knowledge is necessary for the role of a JSP 604 Case Officer? 

Individuals that have a working knowledge of Defence platforms, Defence Digital terminology and knowledge of security assurance often benefit by being able to cut through the technical aspects of the role, enabling them to concentrate on the procedural parts. At i3Secure, Consultants with limited experience in these environments are mentored by experienced Case Officers when starting the role. An MOD Case Officer team will also work alongside the Case Officers providing help and support when needed.  

What is the future of the JSP 604? 

The MOD will constantly look to refine the way it assures itself to provide the best value for money whilst balancing risk. The JSP 604 is under review and will face considerable change towards the end of 2023. However, the NOA will always need a system of assurance to provide it with the confidence that applications and tools have followed a structured set of rules to protect the CIA of the network. As a result, the role is likely to develop further. 

Who would suit the role of a JSP 604 Case Officer? 

The role of JSP 604 Case Officer typically requires certain skills and qualities to effectively enable the individual to carry out their responsibilities. Specifically, it would suit someone with experience working in an agile environment, with an MOD or Military background. Knowledge of NIST, Secure by Design and Zero Trust would also be advantageous. 

Looking for a challenging career in Cyber Security and Information Assurance within the Defence sector?

Visit our Careers page to find out more about the opportunities with i3Secure, our team culture and our competitive benefits package.  

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