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Not a simple matter to address DoD's technology roadmap for mobility, security and cloud

Nov. 29, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
Cell phone cameras now authorized for recruiters
Mobility, cloud computing and security are high on the Pentagon's technology roadmap for the coming months and years. (Marines Corps)
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Mobility, cloud computing and security are high on the Pentagon’s technology roadmap for the coming months and years.

The challenge, however, is rolling out these services globally, securely and in a cost-effective manner, said Greg Youst, chief mobility engineer at the Defense Information Systems Agency.

“I’ve got to make it economical,” Youst said during an industry event on making mobility a reality in government. “DISA is a business. We provide the carrier network for DoD. We have to run our networks in a cost-effective manner.”

Youst highlighted some of DoD’s technology priorities:

Mobile device management

DISA expects to reach initial operating capability for its mobile device management solution by the end of December. The $16 million MDM and mobile applications store contract was awarded to DMI in June and will enable DISA to offer mobile device management services across DoD.

Initially, the MDM will monitor smartphones and tablet computers operating on the unclassified network and eventually the classified network.

Data encryption

This is critical for DoD. Youst has been working with industry to build mobile devices to meet government encryption standards, but doing so is challenging considering the department is a small part of the mobile device market share.

It can take up to a year to get hardware or software certified under FIPS 140-2 standards, Youst said. DoD is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to shorten that process. The department is teaming with companies like Samsung and Microsoft to get their products certified before being released publicly.


DoD’s biggest challenges in the cloud are regulatory, statutory and policy issues, Youst said. Youst said he needs to figure out how to do cloud with public-key infrastructure (PKI), a technique for encrypting and decrypting data.

He also wants the ability to apply policy for mobile devices, based on location. This could apply to devices using Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities. For example, if someone at the Pentagon is using a phone with Wi-Fi, the camera capability could be disabled. If someone entered a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), the entire phone would be disabled, but capabilities would remain on while in the Pentagon cafeteria.

Youst said the goal is to provide that type of device management capability in the cloud.

Mobile apps

A mobile application store is part of DISA’s three-year contract deal with DMI. Youst said DoD components are submitting apps for the enterprise app store. They want Twitter, Pandora and Adobe Reader, to name a few.

DISA is also looking at business apps that can be accessed via mobile devices and how to ensure they are displayed in a user-friendly format. The agency is also using various tools for vetting the security of applications.

DISA is not funded to be the clearinghouse for all apps, Youst said. The goal is for the services to test the apps, submit their work to DISA for review and eventually make the apps available in the enterprise app store. ■


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