January 2018

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After being ratified by a quorum of NATO Nations, STANAG 4774, Metadata Confidentiality Label Syntax, has been promulgated (published) by NATO.

STANAG 4774 provides a XML syntax for representing a confidentiality label in an arbitrary policy, and includes information about the life-cycle of the confidentiality label e.g. when it should be reviewed.

An example of simple confidentiality label using the example AMOCO security policy, is shown below:


An XMLSPIF can be used to describe the value domains for the PolicyIdentifier, Classification, GenericValue (a category value), and PrivacyMark elements of the confidentiality metadata label.

The confidentiality metadata label syntax was designed to be used define metadata elements, with those metadata elements in turn being bound to information. STANAG 4774 defines two metadata elements that use the syntax:

  • originatorConfidentialityLabel – the confidentiality label assigned to the information by the originator
  • alternativeConfidentialityLabel – an confidentiality label in a different policy that is equivalent to the originatorConfidentialityLabel

The binding of metadata elements to information (both XML and non-XML) is the subject of a second STANAG, STANAG 4778, Metadata Binding Mechanism, which is expected to be ratified in 1Q18.

It is highly recommended that metadata elements which use the confidentiality metadata label syntax only use the STANAG 4778 binding mechanism to associate a confidentiality label with information.

STANAG 4774 is not openly available, so in order to obtain a copy of STANAG 4774, you should contact your National Technical Expert (NATEX).