The Pentagon is looking to allow its staff to use any device they fancy with plans to open its network to Apple iPhones and Android devices. As part of this, the Defense Department will hire a contractor to build a system that will manage and secure at least 162,500 Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and the system may be further expanded to handle 8 million devices.
According to a document posted online October 22, this would present a “significant step towards delivering a secure mobile communications capability,” taking advantage of the “increasing wireless capabilities that exist and that are developing in the marketplace.”
In other words, Pentagon staff will be able to use a smartphone they like, not just BlackBerrys, which are already used on the Pentagon’s network. And yes, it’s another blow to the Canadian company, which has clung to government business as an area of strength.
The Pentagon’s Defense Information Systems Agency plans to award the mobile device management contract to a single company by April. Bids are due November 27.