VESTA® Is Rugged and Ready
To help protect and serve their military and civilian populations, many U.S. military installations are equipped with an advanced and reliable 9-1-1 solution. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has the most stringent security requirements for ensuring that these critical 9-1-1 communications systems operate effectively without introducing technical vulnerabilities. VESTA® from Airbus DS Communications, meets those requirements. Learn how the extra rugged VESTA system built for the DoD serves the U.S. military around the globe.
All telephony and information technology systems deployed by the U.S. DoD must be tested and approved by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), a division of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Months of research and development are dedicated to ensuring a system is ready for the JITC lab. At the lab, the system undergoes weeks of rigorous testing and once it has passed, i.e., successful test results, the system is added to the JITC Approved Products List (APL), which demonstrates its ability to operate in an elevated, security-sensitive environment for the U.S. military.
The VESTA® 9-1-1 call handling system, built from the ground up to be Next Generation 9-1-1 compliant, passed all JITC tests in 2014 and is the first internet protocol (IP) based E9-1-1 system to be approved for use by the DoD.
VESTA's Approval Process
To gain JITC approval, the VESTA system had to go through many tests written by the DoD, called Security Testing and Implementation Guidelines (STIGs). The specific STIGs a system is assigned is determined by the application and environment in which the system will operate, and the test process can take months. The VESTA system was in the JITC lab for three weeks, with the testing completed ahead of schedule. This means VESTA passed with flying colors.
Kevin Brown, Airbus DS Communications’ Federal Sales Director, said that DoD approvals have two primary components. “First, they’re looking at the telephone-system interface to ensure it meets the guidelines to interface with the DoD-owned voice switch systems (VSS). The VESTA solution’s interface gives it the ability to work with both older and newer VSS solutions on military bases, which fulfills a notable need for the DoD as these installations migrate to new VSS platforms and technologies. Second, because these are computerized telephony interfaces, JITC also evaluates the computer side of the system to make sure it meets their IA [information-assurance] requirements.”
He added, “The first questions a company, proposing to a partner with the DoD must be prepared to answer are, “is the system JITC approved, and do you have an ATO or Authority to Operate?” “We invested a great deal of time and resources to achieve listing on the JITC APL and in obtaining the ATO,” says Kevin. “We are very proud to be able to say yes to both.”
“We spend a great deal of time and resources to achieve listing on the JITC APL and in obtaining the ATO,” says Kevin. “We are very proud to be able to say yes to both.”
VESTA at Fort Meade Army Base
One recent VESTA implementation for military is at the U.S. Fort Meade Army Base in Maryland. With more than 56,000 employees, 11,000 military personnel and nearly 6,000 family members residing on base, Fort George E. Meade is Maryland’s largest employer and the third largest workforce of any Army installation in the U.S. Ensuring this installation is equipped with the latest Next Generation 9-1-1 technology is vital.
Chief Thomas Russell, the Deputy Chief of Police for Fort Meade, supervised the implementation of the VESTA solution. “The goal,” said Chief Russell “is to continuously shave seconds off the time it takes to answer and dispatch a 9-1-1 call. Seconds matter in this business. Our new VESTA system helps us save a lot of time with capabilities we didn’t have before.”
“It is critical that our federal bases stay relevant with our outside counterparts,” added Chief Russell. “Federal agencies should be given as much opportunity as outside Public Safety Answering Points to implement state-of-the-art 9-1-1 technology.”
Our History Serving the DoD
Airbus DS Communications has a long history of providing 9-1-1 call handling solutions to the U.S. Federal government. Today Airbus DS Communications serves 140 Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps bases and other highly secure agencies in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Japan, Korea, the Pentagon, National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the Department of Energy.