With internet traffic growing exponentially, attacks on government and commercial computers by cyber terrorists and rogue states have escalated. Those wishing harm have espionage programs targeting the data systems used by the United States and allies. Drug traffickers and weapons dealers use the internet with encrypted communications. To counter these activities, the National Security Agency, an agency of the U.S. government, is building a fortified data center deep inside a mountain in Utah. This complex will house the world’s most sophisticated supercomputers dedicated to code breaking and data traffic analysis. Another site will eventually take delivery of the latest Cray supercomputer called Cascade to support the NSA’s need to crack codes faster to protect the nation and its allies.
The NSA has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. The NSA also has the capability to seize and store most electronic communications passing through its U.S. intercept centers. The wholesale collection of data allows the NSA to identify and analyze Entities or Communities of interest later in a static database. Based on my proximity to the PSP and my years of experience at the NSA, I can draw informed conclusions from the available facts. Those facts indicate that the NSA is doing both.
The Utah Data Center (UDC) will be a highly secure 65 Mega Watt, Tier III National Security Agency datacenter facility to be located near Camp Williams, Utah. The fast-track program will consist of approximately 1 million ft2 of new facilities, of which 100,000 ft2 will be mission-critical space with raised flooring, and the other 900,000 ft2 will be devoted to technical support and administrative space. Ancillary support facilities include water treatment facilities, electrical substations, a vehicle inspection facility and visitor control center, perimeter site security measures, fuel storage, chiller plants and fire suppression systems. The UDC will incorporate green building strategies and will be required to be a LEED certified facility, with the goal of obtaining a LEED Silver rating.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Utah Data Center (UDC) Brief, November 13, 2009.