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.

Top Rated Comments

AppleScruff1 Avatar
113 months ago
iDrone

Imagine an iDrone using Apple maps taking instructions from Siri? It would probably attack Washington by mistake.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArchAndroid Avatar
113 months ago
BlackBerry lost.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smallnshort247 Avatar
113 months ago
Now people won't need to carry a Blackberry & iPhone. Time to consolidate!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
el-John-o Avatar
113 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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Puevlo Avatar
113 months ago
Enjoy having your secret service contacts accessed by people using the emergency number bug.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
113 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:
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Pauses Plans to Add AirPlay 2 Support to iOS App [Update: Spotify Clarifies]

Friday August 6, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
See update at bottom of article Spotify this week confirmed that its plans to add AirPlay 2 support to its iOS app have been placed on indefinite hiatus. In an online discussion forum post, a Spotify representative said the streaming music service had been working on supporting AirPlay 2, but the company has paused the efforts "for now" due to "audio driver compatibility issues." The...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
Pixel Stand 23W 668x445

Google Pixel 6 Rumored to Support 23W Wireless Charging, Beating iPhone 12's MagSafe

Wednesday September 1, 2021 1:54 am PDT by
Google is rumored to be working on a new wireless charging stand that could deliver 23W of charging power to its upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones, according to a leaked inventory image published by Android Police. Image via Android Police. If true, that would beat the iPhone 12's maximum 15W wireless charging speed (or 12W on ‌iPhone 12 mini‌) using Apple's MagSafe charger, and...