VA prepared for new employee mobile devices on Oct. 1

The Veterans Affairs Department is on track to begin allowing additional types of mobile devices on its networks starting Oct. 1, but will start slowly with only about 1,000 users, according to Roger Baker, CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology.

Currently, the VA has about 17,000 Blackberry users. The department has been been preparing to purchase and distribute iPhones and iPads for use by selected employees for several months.


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VA gets ready for iPhones and iPads


“We will limit growth in other mobile devices to employees who meet the business requirements,” Baker said in a conference call on Sept. 28. An audio recording of the call was distributed by FierceGovernmentIT.com. “There will be a bar set of whether you actually need it in performance of your duties.”

In addition, the users must undergo training, and must give up their laptops and Blackberry devices, he said.

Baker said that by publicizing the effort, he inadvertently may have caused tens of thousands VA employees to believe they would have instant access to VA networks on Oct. 1. However, the actual deployment will unfold more slowly as employee “business use cases” are evaluated for each worker.

The initial applications available on the new devices are encrypted e-mail and read-only access to a variety of VA applications, Baker said. Additional medical clinical interface applications are in development, he added.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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