DoD awards contract for app store, mobile device management

Friday - 6/28/2013, 7:24pm EDT

The Defense Department has awarded a Bethesda, Md., firm a contract to build DoD's first enterprise-wide mobile application store and mobile-device management system, officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency said Friday.

The contract is a significant milestone in the Pentagon's long-anticipated rollout of a new generation of smart devices and the execution of the commercial mobile-device implementation plan DoD rolled out earlier this year.

The plan called for the deployment of technology that could secure and manage mobile devices in a centralized fashion across the military services and agencies as a prerequisite to the widespread deployment of handhelds such as Apple's iOS devices and Google's Android.

"A strong MDM capability lets us provision and manage devices with best-practice protections, trusted platform configuration and continuous monitoring," Douglas Gardner, the technical director in DISA's program executive office for mission assurance, said in a statement.

Under the award, Digital Management, Inc. could receive up to $16 million over three years if the government exercises all of its options under the contract, beginning with a $2.9 million first-year base period.

A spokeswoman said the company was precluded under the contract from publicly discussing its plans to implement the MDM and app store, but the initial request for proposals DISA issued last October required that the mobility management scheme support at least Android and iOS devices, with BlackBerry and Windows Phone support as optional features. The RFP characterized DoD's first MDM incarnation as a "short-term" solution, supporting at least 162,500 devices and up to 100,000 more by the end of the contract.

The MDM will serve as a "traffic cop," provisioning, managing and, if necessary, wiping clean any of the mobile devices connected to DoD's new mobile infrastructure. The app store also provided for in the contract will be a secure, internal storefront designed to serve the entire military and make sure that only approved apps can be installed on approved devices.

Last month, DISA cleared the way for revamping of DoD's arduous security review process for IT hardware, and the department eventually hopes to clear most devices within 30 days of their introduction to the commercial marketplace.

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