DOD Expanding Use of Mobile Platforms
DOD Expanding Use of Mobile
By Claudette Roulo, American
Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– May 5, 2014 – The Defense Department has started putting commercial
off-the-shelf mobile devices into the hands of DOD personnel, and expects
eventually to support about 100,000 separate devices, the Defense Information
Systems Agency's program manager for DOD mobility said today.
The implementation plan for expanded mobile device access has
been in place for about 18 months, John Hickey said. A joint pilot program with
the Army has been running for about that long, he added. "We're now operational
on the unclassified side [and] starting to port over our pilot users, as well as
some of the major commands," he said. After conducting operational studies,
Hickey said, commands such as the Air Force's Air Mobility Command are now using
mobile devices for daily unclassified operations.
About 2,000 devices already are in use on the unclassified
network, he said, and infrastructure capacity will be developed in increments of
25,000 until the goal of 100,000 devices is reached. "The implementation plan
and DOD strategy was to attack the infrastructure piece first -- really base,
camp and station," Hickey said. "The next phase, obviously, is how do you move
that forward into the attackable environment and the operational environment?"
The move to mobile platforms isn't just about giving users
access to the latest off-the-shelf devices, Hickey said -- it's also about
accessing and protecting information. Ensuring the security of commercial
applications that allow users to access email or share documents is one part of
the process, but so is creating a space where applications can be quickly
developed and shared in response to the needs of warfighters, he said.
The next challenge is user identification, Hickey said. He
added that there isn't much commercial support for mobile public key
infrastructure, which would enable users on insecure mobile networks to securely
Manufacturers exist for one type of card reader called a sled
-- a case-like card-reader attachment for mobile devices, Hickey said. But
battlefield commanders dislike the additional complication of using a common
access card while out in the field, said Michael McCarthy, the director of
operations and program manager for the Army's Brigade Modernization Command.
The mobile application store was part of DISA's requirements
when it requested proposals from companies seeking to develop a mobile device
management framework for the Defense Department, Hickey said.
DOD took a three-pronged approach to mobile device
application management: governance, development and use of existing
applications, he noted.
The governance piece -- developing rules and standards for
application security -- is up and running, he said. The role of the
implementation plan, in part, was to provide security guidance to device and
application developers to help speed up the approval process, Hickey explained.
Already, a Samsung device has made it through testing in less
than 90 days, he said. "I had my doubts myself how quickly [the process] would
go, but we're seeing the rewards of publishing the security standards that we
want the users to meet," Hickey said.
The next step, he said, is creating an application
development process and making it easy for personnel at all levels to quickly
make an app that others can use.
Hickey said he expects that, eventually, warfighters will use
in their operations a mix of applications that includes apps created in response
to their specific needs, commercial apps and apps developed by other DOD users.
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