DoD seeks ideas on mobile phones of the future

soldiers using mobile device

What: The Mobility Program Office of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is looking for a hardware upgrade.

Why: Until recently, the government was able to drive the market for secure telecommunications, according to DISA. But now mobility is advancing faster than government procurement cycles. As a result, "DoD is challenged in its ability to deliver mission-focused, secure, mobile solutions to its users," according to a request for information. DISA is looking to update its acquisitions processes, and in the meantime look to industry for help in developing a device that can meet the security demands of storing and transmitting classified data and work across the networks of multiple providers.

DISA isn't asking for much. Just a U.S.-based vendor that can supply an NSA-compliant device with a 12-24 hour battery life, compatibility with multiple commercial networks and the ability to integrate with a planned DISA app store that will act as a repository for developing, testing and hosting classified apps used by Defense agencies.

The related DISA app store RFI asks vendors to probe the challenges of attracting developers to build and maintain mobile applications for DoD, given the military's high-security requirements. Some specific hurdles include the problem of integrating apps with both DoD and commercial systems, hosting apps in a secure environment, and developing apps across the Microsoft, Apple, Android and Blackberry operating systems. Additionally, according to answers to vendor questions published July 3, DISA CTO Dave Mihelcic is researching a desktop replacement Windows tablet that would support email, chat and other applications. DISA also noted in its responses to vendors that while no DISA customer has asked for HTML 5 application support, they anticipate this becoming a requirement in the future.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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