Microsoft Outlook is a feature rich mail user agent that supports SMTP-based messaging either directly from the client (using SMTP and POP3 or IMAP4) or indirectly through Microsoft Exchange Server and an associated SMTP Send and Receive Connectors. It provides the features to support informal messaging, but lacks support for a number of features that would allow it to be used for formal messaging.
Formal messaging has traditionally be associated with the X.400 protocol suite, and the associated standards of ACP123 (adopted by the CCEB Nations) and STANAG 4406 (adopted by the NATO Nations). The decreasing development and support of X.400 systems has made it increasingly expensive to deploy and support a formal messaging system based upon these standards.
In an effort to support formal messaging on a different messaging bearer (i.e. SMTP), the IETF have published an RFC that describes a set of header fields that can carry the militaryelements of service that are defined in ACP123/STANAG 4406 within an SMTP message.
BRAID is an Add-In for Microsoft Outlook that supports these header fields so that Microsoft Outlook can be used as a formal messaging client. It also includes support for a security label header field, which is defined in a separate RFC, that allows messages to be more easily labelled and labelled without requiring the use of S/MIME.
During message composition, all of the header fields can be added to a message through appropriate controls a custom ribbon tab, The ribbon tab itself can be customised to all present only the header fields that are used within an organisation, and as with all ribbons, the more commonly used controls can be moved to the existing ribbon tabs.
On message reception and viewing, the additional header fields can be shown as columns in the list view and in both the preview pane and the message itself.
BRAID adopts the catalog mechanism defined in XEP-0258 to support both the configuration of the header fields and the associated values of those fields (where appropriate). The catalogs can be accessed fro the local file system or from a web service. In the latter case, the BRAID configuration can be managed centrally, both on a system-wide and individual basis. For example, specific individuals
The BRAID installation process offers the ability to install one of four different configurations that reflect a number of different possible deployment scenarios:
- Security-label only - only the additional security label header field is configured for those organisations who wish to apply a security label to their messages, but don't necessarily want to use Outlook mechanism which uses S/MIME
- Basic MMHS - providing to basic military messaging fields but without the legacy ACP127 fields.
- Full MMHS - providing all of the RFC 6477 heading fields, as well as the security label and the authorising users field.
- Security Label Server - exploiting a dedicated security label server for the provision of security label catalogs.