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WS-Policy is an interoperability standard used to describe and communicate the policies of a web service so that service providers can export policy requirements in a standard format. Clients can combine the service provider requirements with their own capabilities to establish the policies required for a specific interaction.

WebSphere Application Server conforms to the web services Policy Framework (WS-Policy) specification. Use the WS-Policy protocol to exchange policies in standard format. A policy represents the capabilities and requirements of a web service, for example whether a message is secure and how to secure it, and whether a message is delivered reliably and how this is achieved. We can communicate the policy configuration to any other client, service registry, or service that supports the WS-Policy specification, including non-WAS products in a heterogeneous environment.

For a service provider, the policy configuration can be shared in published Web Services Description Language (WSDL), in WSDL that is obtained by a client using an HTTP GET request, or using the Web Services Metadata Exchange (WS-MetadataExchange) protocol. The WSDL is in the standard WS-PolicyAttachments format.

For a client, the client can obtain the policy of the service provider in the standard WS-PolicyAttachments format and use this information to establish a configuration that is acceptable to both the client and the service provider. In other words, the client can be configured dynamically, based on the policies supported by its service provider. The provider policy can be attached at the application or service or service reference level.

The following features were introduced in the JAX-WS 2.2 specification, which WAS supports from v8:

The WS-Policy assertion specifications supported in this version of WAS are:

For details of the WS-Policy domains supported, see the following topics:


  • WS-Addressing policy settings
  • WS-ReliableMessaging settings
  • WS-Security policy settings
  • WS-Transaction policy settings
  • Web Services Policy 1.5
  • Web Services Policy 1.5 - Attachment
  • Web Services Addressing 1.0 - Metadata
  • Web Services Atomic Transaction Version 1.0
  • Web Services Atomic Transaction Version 1.1
  • Web Services Atomic Transaction Version 1.2
  • Web Services Reliable Messaging Policy Assertion Version 1.0
  • Web Services Reliable Messaging Policy Assertion Version 1.1
  • WS-SecurityPolicy 1.2
  • JAX-WS API v2.2