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Air Force Research Lab and Industry Team to Demonstrate New GIG Software Security Architecture

ARLINGTON, VA - April 27, 2006 - Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) today joins co-architects of an emerging high-assurance security architecture during a public demonstration of MILS, or “Multiple Independent Levels of Security/Safety,” to the U.S. defense community, including representatives from the Department of Defense (DoD) services, National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Information Systems Agency ( DISA ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and others.

At The Open Group's Architecting to the Edge™ Conference —“MILS Architecture and Demonstrations,” held in Arlington, AFRL is joining systems integrators Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) vendors to demonstrate MILS technology and to show how it can protect highly sensitive military and intelligence communications networks on the Global Information Grid (GIG).

While MILS is the result of a broad collaboration of government, industry and academia, AFRL is currently working to certify MILS-based COTS products to the Common Criteria, the international standard for security evaluation. Certification to high-assurance levels defined in the Common Criteria signifies that products can always be trusted to perform their security functions correctly.

The Open Group, a vendor-and technology-neutral standards body and host of the MILS event, underscores the significance of the MILS demonstration:

“That commercial products based on the MILS architecture have become available is a major step forward,” said David Lounsbury, The Open Group's Vice President of Government Programs. “Members of The Open Group's Real-time & Embedded Systems Forum are to be applauded; products from Green Hills Software, LynuxWorks, Wind River and MILS communications middleware from Objective Interface Systems will be showcased in a real-world scenario. This has huge benefit for military and intelligence organizations by enabling the secure and safe separation of classified, highly classified and top-secret information. Such work has direct application in the commercial world to benefit corporate enterprises, public utilities and other organizations for which security breaches are not an option.”

While MILS was designed with the mission-critical needs of DoD in mind, it is equally valuable to enterprise networks. Mr. Lounsbury commented: “The networks that comprise the international financial and commercial communications infrastructure deserve no less protection than those of the military and intelligence communities.”

The Event: MILS Architecture and Demonstrations
The Open Group's MILS event will feature an opening address by Col. Kenneth Flowers Director, DoD Open Systems Joint Task Force, titled: “Securing Warfighting Systems in a Net-Centric Environment.” The event will also offer the first public demonstration of a simulated airborne reconnaissance mission by Raytheon. The Raytheon simulation features an animated display of aircraft and targets on a MILS Workstation. The reconnaissance aircraft are simulated on embedded processors running MILS separation kernels—MILS-compliant real-time operating systems (RTOS)—from different vendors. A Linux Workstation represents the GIG. The MILS trusted communications software ensures separation of multiple levels of data while using commodity network hardware and software.

Other highlights of The Open Group's MILS event will include:

  • MILS presentations by AFRL and Lockheed Martin
  • A panel discussion and Q&A session with MILS co-architects and COTS vendors: Green Hills Software, LynuxWorks, Objective Interface Systems and Wind River

The Open Group's “MILS Architecture and Demonstrations” event will be held from 2:00-5:30 p.m. April 27, 2006 at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington , Va. For more information, please visit:

How MILS Works
MILS is a separation architecture that works by partitioning programs, their data and their communications in distributed systems. MILS provides high-assurance separation so that multiple security domains can be combined onto a single set of computers, thereby allowing institutions to replace several computers with one that is MILS-compliant. This has the potential to save significant hardware and administrative costs.

All of the vendors of MILS operating systems provide compatibility with existing operating systems. For example, Windows and Linux can run simultaneously in a partition on some MILS-compliant operating systems. This compatibility with existing operating systems makes for a relatively painless transition for those enterprises migrating to a MILS-protected environment.

About MILS
MILS is an architecture for high-assurance security. MILS protects against unauthorized access and disclosure in distributed systems even in the presence of system failure. It is based on the foundational theories of Dr. John Rushby of the Stanford Research Institute in the early 1980's. MILS evolved through a collaboration among industry, government and education institutions. The architectural foundation for MILS was developed jointly by AFRL, the NSA, the University of Idaho , Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Rockwell Collins, the MITRE Corporation, The Open Group, Objective Interface Systems, Green Hills Software, LynuxWorks and Wind River . For more information on MILS, please visit:

About The Open Group
The Open Group is a vendor-neutral and technology-neutral consortium, which drives the creation of Boundaryless Information Flow™ that will enable access to integrated information within and between enterprises based on open standards and global interoperability. The Open Group works with customers, suppliers, consortia and other standard bodies. Its role is to capture, understand and address current and emerging requirements, establish policies and share best practices; to facilitate interoperability, develop consensus, and evolve and integrate specifications and open source technologies; to offer a comprehensive set of services to enhance the operational efficiency of consortia; and to operate the industry's premier certification service. Further information on The Open Group can be found at:

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