Pentagon releases mobility implementation plan


The Defense Department has a new plan for acquiring and using commercial mobile devices. (Stock image)

The Defense Department on Feb. 26 released a new commercial mobile device implementation plan, which will set up framework and guidelines for Pentagon purchases of smart phones, tablets, apps and other mobile capabilities.

The plan focuses on three key areas – mobile devices, wireless infrastructure and mobile applications – and keeps flexibility as a top priority in order to keep up with fast-changing technology. In all, the framework will equip 600,000 mobile-device users with secure classified and protected unclassified devices. It provides a phased structure, allowing small-scale pilot programs so that lessons learned can be incorporated as implementations scale up.

Building from DOD's mobility strategy released last June, the plan includes directives to establish wireless voice, video and data capabilities across DOD by October 2013. It also calls for a 90-day approval cycle for mobile devices and operating systems, and includes guidance for the use of personal devices within the DOD environment. Additionally, the plan creates a Defense Information Systems Agency program office, due by fiscal 2014, charged with overseeing procurement, implementing initial enterprise mobility capabilities and providing DOD with classified and unclassified requirements and guidelines.

“The goal is an operating system that we can use on the unclassified and leverage onto the classified with security built into it,” said John Hickey, program manager for DOD mobility at DISA. Hickey spoke to reporters Feb. 26 at the Pentagon, along with Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler, DOD deputy CIO for control, communications and computers and information infrastructure.

What's unknown so far is precisely what devices will be in the hands of troops and Pentagon personnel, whether that will be an iPhone, an Android device or a Blackberry – or a combination thereof. Currently, DOD has 470,000 Blackberrys, 41,000 Apple devices and 8,700 Android devices.

"We're device-agnostic. What we're looking for is a family of devices that are available, depending on the operator," Wheeler said. "And we're going to continue to update as they update."

In a Pentagon announcement detailing the new plan, DOD CIO Teri Takai indicated that the mobile devices will be used to decrease costs, capitalize on current technology trends and act as a force multiplier.

"The Department of Defense is taking a leadership role in leveraging mobile device technology by ensuring its workforce is empowered with mobile devices," Takai said. "As today’s DOD personnel increasingly rely on mobile technology as a key capability enabler for joint force combat operations, the application of mobile technology into global operations, integration of secure and non-secure communications, and development of portable, cloud-enabled capability will dramatically increase the number of people able to collaborate and share information rapidly."

Takai, under the plan's provisions, has until May to begin working with DISA to streamline the security approval processes for devices.

The overall guidance pulls together elements of a number of different agencies and efforts – among them, National Security Agency standards for secure classified devices, pilot programs from across DOD and the departmentwide Joint Information Environment, to which devices will be tied.

The strategy and plan "aim to align the various mobile devices, pilots and initiatives across DOD under common objectives to ensure the warfighter benefits from these activities and aligns with efforts in the [JIE]," Takai said. "This is not simply about embracing the newest technology – it is about keeping the department's workforce relevant in an era when information accessibility and cybersecurity play a critical role in mission success."

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group