Higher-tech NSA workstations

Higher-tech NSA workstations
Higher-tech NSA workstations

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By Rutrell Yasin

The National Security Agency has hired VMware and General Dynamics C4 
Systems to develop high-assurance platform (HAP) workstations for the 

Using VMware virtualization software, users in the Defense Department, 
the intelligence community and other government agencies can access 
information requiring different security clearance levels from a single 
physical machine, said Aileen Black, vice president of federal sales at 

Currently, members of the armed forces and intelligence analysts with 
multiple security clearances must use multiple, separate physical 
workstations to access information according to clearance level, Black 
said. This creates an expensive and logistically cumbersome information 
technology environment, she added.

Through the joint HAP projects, government agencies would be able to 
purchase secure workstation solutions developed by General Dynamics C4 
Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, with integrated VMware 
software that provides secure access to multiple clearance levels.

The HAP workstations could also reduce the size, weight and power 
requirements for mobile field equipment used by tactical armed forces 
units, allowing them to share secured information across communities of 
interest, VMware officials said.

The Special Operations Command is partnering with NSA to adopt an early 
release of the HAP workstation for operational testing.

=E2=80=9CThe HAP program is interested in developing the next generation of 
standards and technologies that will be the foundation of secure 
platforms that allow access to different classified domains and the 
ability to securely share data between different classified enclaves,=E2=80=9D 
Prescott Winter, former director of the NSA Commercial Solutions Center 
and now the agency=E2=80=99s chief technology officer, said in a statement.

VMware=E2=80=99s partnership with NSA builds on a joint development initiative 
that dates to 2000. The project resulted in a solution called NetTop, a 
predecessor to the HAP workstation based on VMware workstation software 
that allows simultaneous access to top-secret and secret information on 
the same platform

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