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
106 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
106 months ago
BlackBerry lost.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smallnshort247 Avatar
106 months ago
Now people won't need to carry a Blackberry & iPhone. Time to consolidate!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
el-John-o Avatar
106 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
106 months ago
Enjoy having your secret service contacts accessed by people using the emergency number bug.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
106 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)

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