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.

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
back to school 2024

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launches, Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Thursday June 20, 2024 4:29 am PDT by
Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion for college students in the United States. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with any new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac, and a $100 gift card with the purchase of any new M4 iPad ...
iOS 17

Apple Releases First Public Beta of iOS 17.6

Thursday June 20, 2024 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first betas of upcoming iOS 17.6 and iPadOS 17.6 updates to public beta testers, with the betas coming a few days after the initial iOS and iPadOS 17.6 developer betas. Public beta testers can get the beta by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 Public Beta....

Top Rated Comments

AppleScruff1 Avatar
148 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
148 months ago
BlackBerry lost.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smallnshort247 Avatar
148 months ago
Now people won't need to carry a Blackberry & iPhone. Time to consolidate!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
el-John-o Avatar
148 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
148 months ago
Enjoy having your secret service contacts accessed by people using the emergency number bug.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
148 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)