DISA puts mobility project into its next phase

Friday - 10/5/2012, 6:26pm EDT

The Defense Information Systems Agency is expanding its mobile project by 1,150 devices.

DISA made awards to Verizon and AT&T worth just under $900,000, in all, for Apple iPads and iPhones, and Samsung tablets.

DISA said in its justification and approval for a sole-source contract to the companies that these three devices met their security requirements.

"Samsung has also partnered with the leaders in the mobile device management (MDM) market to embed their application level control within the vendor provided tool to manage the end devices effectively and efficiently," the J&A stated. "The Apple iPhone 4S and iPad 3 provide Apple's application interfaces in order for the MDM to securely manage the devices."

DISA said in August that its mobility project will ensure commercial mobile devices can be securely used by DISA customers across the DoD Enterprise.

"DISA Mobility PMO requires continuous testing and evaluation with the major global carrier providers due to the global market demand as well as the unique requirements that are being set up in the lab for carrier circuits," the J&A stated. "DISA is in the process of multiple test spirals that are currently occurring and will be occurring over the next nine months. Each spiral builds capability upon the previous spiral. This build up includes adding direct cellular carrier connections to establish the Enterprise Level Mobility Gateway."

In addition to the devices, DISA issued a broad agency announcement Oct. 1 asking for industry to develop a mobile device Common Access Card-enabled virtual thin client.

In the BAA, DISA requests technologies "for managed and unmanaged mobile devices that enable users to securely use personally owned or government-issued devices to access information or applications on Department of Defense networks. Proposed solutions should investigate innovative approaches that authenticate user identity via DoD Class-III certificates on a CAC for Public-Key-Enabled virtual thin client solutions on user or government supplied mobile devices."

Abstracts and potentially full proposals are due by March.

Bruce Bennett, DISA's director of satellite communications, teleport and services, said in May at DISA's industry day that he's optimistic these mobility projects will lead the way for a huge increase in wireless users.

Bennett said by the end of 2013, he's optimistic 100,000 users will be on DISA's network, and by the end of 2014, that number will increase to 1 million.

"It all depends on how we dynamically change how we do business," he said. "One goal of mobility is I have six devices on my desk, I'd like to get down to one. I'd like to be able to do what I do at my desk anywhere in the world. If we can do that, we can save a lot of money. We can save a lot of effort and we can provide a lot of capability to the warfighter."

All of these efforts are connected to DoD's mobile strategy released in June. The goal of that document is to detail the steps needed to improve three areas defense leaders consider crucial to mobility: wireless infrastructure, the devices themselves, and mobile applications.

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TAG: Technology Contracting Industry DoD DISA AT&T Verizon Apple Samsung Mobile computing Jason Miller