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Pentagon to Open Communications Networks to Apple Devices in 2014

DOD-logo-vector-RGBThe U.S. Department of Defense today announced (via Bloomberg) a "commercial mobile device implementation plan" that would allow iOS and Android devices to be used on its secure classified and protected unclassified communication networks beginning in February 2014.
The implementation plan establishes a framework to equip the department’s 600,000 mobile-device users with secure classified and protected unclassified mobile solutions that leverage commercial off-the-shelf products, promote the development and use of mobile applications to improve functionality, decrease costs, and enable increased personal productivity.  The plan orchestrates a series of operational pilots from across the DoD components that will incorporate lessons learned, ensure interoperability, refine technical requirements, influence commercial standards, and create operational efficiencies for DoD mobile users.
As Bloomberg notes, BlackBerry is currently the dominant device at the Pentagon with almost 450,000 devices being used by its employees. Over the past several years, BlackBerry has seen its enterprise dominance chipped away by Apple devices, as corporations and other government agencies have been trading in their BlackBerry devices for iOS and Android ones.

This would mark the first time that commercial products like iPhones and iPads would be allowed on the department's classified networks. The department also plans to create a military mobile applications store and hire a contractor that would build a network system capable of handling as many as 8 million devices.

Teri Takai, the DoD's chief information officer, said that the move is about "keeping the department's workforce relevant" in a time where information accessibility and cybersecurity are crucial to "mission success." The department currently uses older BlackBerry devices, but the company is set to launch its new BlackBerry Z10 phone, based on the company's revamped operating system, next month.

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23 months ago

iDrone


Imagine an iDrone using Apple maps taking instructions from Siri? It would probably attack Washington by mistake.
Rating: 24 Votes
23 months ago
BlackBerry lost.
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago
Now people won't need to carry a Blackberry & iPhone. Time to consolidate!
Rating: 4 Votes
23 months ago

So it's a classified unclassified network?


They are referring to two different networks. The U.S. has lots of different 'terms' defining how sensitive information is. Secret, Top Secret, Classified, Protected, etc. etc. They have both protected, unclassified networks, and secure classified networks.

Although I've only seen the truly secure pentagon stuff (in pictures and stuff) via ethernet. Check out any pictures of the "situation room" or other high profile, highly classified areas within the pentagon. All of the laptops are connected via ethernet (tagged with 'classified' ribbons around the cable).

My younger brother is in the Navy and works in information security and network administration. He says they use ethernet alone for everything classified. So one might think that the 'protected unclassified' would be a form of secure Wi-Fi for devices. Or just a separate network entirely. I wouldn't be surprised if the 'secured classified' network was completely isolated, not physically or otherwise connected to any other network OR to the internet.

Interestingly though, this article makes it seem like the iPhones and Android devices would be connected to what they are describing as 'secured classified'. So maybe they are opening up the classified (or already have) network to Wi-Fi?

Who knows. Sure is pretty interesting though.
Rating: 3 Votes
23 months ago
When I first saw that huge Department of Defense logo on the front page of Macrumors, I thought the website had been hit with an ICE takedown! :eek:
Rating: 2 Votes
23 months ago
Enjoy having your secret service contacts accessed by people using the emergency number bug.
Rating: 2 Votes
23 months ago
All I can say is, finally!!! No more two phones to carry around!
Rating: 1 Votes
23 months ago

Huh. For the kind of... they'd at very least need their own OS.

...if not hardware.

I can't imagine how they'd make use of stock consumer hardware.


Military hardware has been behind consumer technology in terms of speed/power/everything for many, many years now.
Rating: 1 Votes
23 months ago
The company I work for is switching to iPhones as well. We have 20M+ employees globally. North America is converting by May 1 with all other to follow. Point being, when you start seeing Fortune 10 companies and government agencies converting, the ship for blackberry sailed into the sunset years ago.
Rating: 1 Votes
23 months ago

Is this the Department of Defence just bowing to market pressure to allow the two dominant mobile platforms to be used - or have they really tested iOS and Android to be secure enough? Begs that question whether the decision was made before or after the recent spate of security flaws in iOS 6.1, 6.1.1 and 6.1.2?

Does the DoD allow Microsoft Windows computers - I guess, if they do (as I assume), then really it's anything goes.


LOL hardly. I have personally sat in on meetings between Apple and the DoD. They were always stand-offs because apple did not want to bend to conform to DoD standards with such things as putting an older "certified by DoD standards" OS on new hardware. Apples stance was that when you buy a new computer, you buy it with the latest OS and anything else is unsupported or may not even work. Basically, the accreditation proces is so damn slow that when an OS is accredited, the next release is already out. And with Apple releasing almost annually, we're even further behind. For instance, we just went to Windows 7. We went to Vista when 7 was released commercially. It takes that long. The DoD moves at snails pace and is set in their ways. Apple is a whale enough to not have to bend for them. However, in the R&D world the DoD uses a lot more.
Rating: 1 Votes

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