CERDEC cuts ribbon for new evaluation service laboratory

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at APG recognizing the creation of the new Evaluation Service Lab, or ESL. The new lab will help aid in supporting the evaluation of Government Off-the-Shelf systems seeking NSA certification. | U.S. Army photo by Dan Baldwin, CERDEC Public Affairs.

New lab will expedite Type 1 devices into the hands of soldiers

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – To commemorate the vision, persistence and dedication between the National Security Agency, known as NSA, and the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held here recognizing the creation of a new lab.

Officially established this past summer, the Evaluation Service Lab, or ESL, will help aid in supporting the evaluation of Government Off-the-Shelf systems seeking NSA certification. CERDEC’s Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate, or S&TCD, will act as a supplement to Type 1 certification, a process that includes testing and formal analysis of the security of a product, which will vastly accelerate the time required to attain a certification decision.

Upon receipt of a fully executed Memorandum of Agreement, or MOA, between the NSA’s former Information Assurance Directorate and S&TCD’s Cyber Security & Information Assurance, or CSIA, Division, CERDEC engineers commenced a pilot program involving Type 1 certification of GOTS multi-channel airborne radio.

The MOA will allow CERDEC’s ESL to support NSA with security personnel experienced in supporting NSA’s certification process working out of CERDEC and NSA locations.

“CERDEC has the equipment here and can work on the projects in this space without having to travel,” said Jolynn Winn, NSA Tactical Edge Communications chief.

Under the agreement, CERDEC will work directly with the Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM, to provide security guidance and assessment of the OEM’s GOTS deliverables prior to NSA technical approval and certification. CERDEC’s ESL-certification efforts will not only help the NSA reduce the growing list of GOTS products requiring certification to meet fielding schedules, but will ultimately expedite Type 1 devices into the hands of United States Soldiers.

“At the end of the day, this will increase efficiency and provide a flexibility in funding options,” said Matt Lazzaro, S&TCD CSIA Cryptographic Modernization Branch chief. “It also allows us to train Army engineers to better understand this process in moving products more quickly.”

Story by Dan Baldwin, CERDEC Public Affairs