Cyber, Defense, Digital Accelerators, Zero Trust 3 MIN Read

Building on Zero Trust Firsts

January 25th, 2024

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Learn more about GDIT’s Zero Trust work, including our Everest Digital Accelerator.

Yama Sakura Exercise Underscores the Importance of Data-Centric Security to Support the Warfighter


Massive geographically and home to half of the world’s population, the Pacific Rim is of immense strategic significance to the United States. As such, the annual Yama Sakura exercise is an important tri-lateral effort involving military personnel from the United States, Australia, and Japan working together to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific and to plan for the challenges of a large-scale Pacific conflict. Yama Sakura 85, conducted in December, focused on new ways to equip warfighters with tools to do exactly that.

GDIT and our strategic partner Fornetix played a role in this year’s exercise supporting the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and the Army I Corps, who were the sponsor and execution lead, respectively. Our goal, as with the Talisman Sabre exercise earlier this year, was to enable coalition data-sharing at the edge with finely tuned access control policies, including attributes associated with identity, risk adaptive access control, and privileged access management to establish a data-centric security structure.

Collaboration to Further Support USINDOPACOM Priorities

Working with our partners at Fornetix, we built on learnings from Talisman Sabre in support of the USINDOPACOM goal of integrating Zero Trust technology at the tactical edge. Additionally, we brought in advanced technology capabilities from new partners at Radiant Logic, Ping Identity, and Delinea to further enhance this work and to demonstrate that Zero Trust is relevant and operationally effective at the tactical edge for the warfighter.

First-Ever COP Data Integration

The GDIT team’s Yama Sakura contributions also involved integrating common operating picture (COP) data at the edge. This data allows mission partners to overlay strategic data with map data to correlate assets and locations, for example, and accelerate Decision Advantage for the warfighter. By supporting this integration into a tactically relevant Zero Trust environment at the edge for the very first time, we were able to demonstrate how to extend new capabilities to the warfighter in the field and at the last mile.

A Zero Trust Journey Beginning with Essential Steps

The Yama Sakura exercise represents a second step on a broader Zero Trust journey in the region. The end goal is to be able to execute the entirety of Zero Trust, as envisioned by the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, at the tactical edge to support warfighting. This type of full-stack Zero Trust implementation begins with establishing critical capabilities – as was done in the Talisman Sabre exercise and building on that foundation by fielding modular capabilities during events such as Yama Sakura.

Similarly, the GDIT Zero Trust capability set is modular and enables mission partners to begin or continue their Zero Trust journeys, no matter where they are. It can be fielded in phases to reduce risk and optimize costs and can be built on existing infrastructure. In both the Talisman Sabre and Yama Sakura exercises we integrated with government infrastructure and set the groundwork for additional Zero Trust capabilities in the future, in support of a continued journey.