NSA’s Open Source “Accumulo” At Center of White House Veto Threat

Dan Verton | Homeland Security Today | November 30, 2012

The White House Thursday threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013, citing, among other things, a provision dealing with the National Security Agency’s (NSA) open-source database project known as “Accumulo,” arguing that the bill could hinder NSA’s ability to support the new national defense strategy.

In a statement aimed at clarifying administration policy, the White House said “if the bill is presented to the President for approval in its current form, the President’s senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.” The bill, sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), authorizes $631 billion in program spending for the Department of Defense (DOD) and establishes specific congressional guidance on various programs and initiatives.

Among the provisions that the White House does not accept is a limitation on the use of an NSA open-source secure database initiative called “Accumulo.” The bill denies the ability of any Pentagon component from using Accumulo after Sept. 30, 2013 unless the Pentagon can certify that there are no viable, less expensive open-source alternatives with “extensive industry support.” In fact, the bill specifically pits Accumulo against the Apache Foundation HBase and Cassandra databases, requiring the DOD chief information officer to certify that Accumulo provides essential security features that are not available in these competing open-source options...