Pentagon CIO points to in-phone security

Placeholder Image for Article Template

Pentagon CIO Teri Takai wants industry to find new ways of authenticating mobile users.

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai is urging industry to develop mobile devices that can be quickly certified by the Pentagon and that use derived credentials on users' phones in lieu of Common Access Cards.

"We're going to need to work with industry to make sure that as we look at derived credentials, as we look at a different way of authenticating, which we knew we were going to get to, that you are in fact investing in providing more and more security in that derived credential," Takai said at FedScoop's fourth annual MobileGov Summit on Feb. 27.

Derived credentials can be installed on devices via hardware such as microSD and SIM cards, instead of Common Access Cards, which rely on external readers.

Takai said DOD can't bank on having cutting-edge smartphones or tablet PCs given the current budget constraints and needs to have a secure mobile environment that isn't contingent on devices.

"The phone in and of itself and the security of the phone, as I say, is a start point, but now we're really talking about what are the structural changes that have to happen in the way we look at our data, in the way that we look at our applications, in the way we look at security," she said.

DOD's widespread use of apps further complicates security. Once a phone or operating system is certified for use, the preloaded apps also must be vetted. Ideally, agencies would include apps used by employees in their catalogues so updates and alterations to code could easily be accessed.

Tom Simmons, area vice president for Citrix Systems' U.S. Public Sector, said the best solution for securing data is hosting a virtualized app in a data center.

"Everything that goes on happens behind the firewall, and I'm seeing the results of that data," Simmons said. "But there's no data coming across the device. It's all just pictures."

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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