recommended reading

Naval War College uses Russian software for iPad course material

The Navy's premier institution for developing senior strategic and operational leaders started issuing students Apple iPad tablet computers equipped with GoodReader software in August 2010, unaware that the mobile app was developed and maintained by a Russian company, Good.iWare, until Nextgov reported it in February.

John Roberts, who runs the iPad pilot project at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., said he did not check the provenance of GoodReader when he decided to use the software application, a fact that "does not put me in the best possible light," he told Nextgov.

The Naval War College evaluated six PDF reader applications and chose GoodReader because of "its look and feel, capability and the fact that it was highly rated in the Apple app store," Roberts said. This, he added, should not be considered an official endorsement of GoodReader.

Asked if he might have chosen another PDF reader app if he knew GoodReader was developed in Russia, Roberts said he might have had second thoughts. The course material loaded onto iPads at the school is far different from mission-critical software used by the Air Force Special Operations Command, which planned to use GoodReader to provide mission security and read digital navigation charts, until it canceled its iPad buy last month.

Digital course information is unclassified and open source material, Roberts said. Much of the information, such as Defense Department joint doctrine publications, is readily available on the Internet. If the Naval War College put classified material on iPads, Roberts said he would conduct a more thorough examination of potential apps.

The Naval War College decided to shift its course material from paper to digital to save on printing and distribution costs, he said. This includes more than 8,000 pages of printouts and 58 books per student annually. The school has an inventory of 375 iPad 2 tablets it loans to students and another 60 iPad 1s supplied to the faculty. Students also can use their own mobile computers and readers, Roberts said, which includes Kindle digital readers from Amazon and the Xoom tablet from Motorola, which runs the Android operating system. The Naval War College is device-agnostic.

Teri Takai, the Defense Department's chief information officer, told a conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., that demand for iPads and other mobile computers continues to grow, a statement to which Roberts can attest. Roughly 85 percent of Naval War College students prefer iPads over paper for course materials, he said.

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Software vulnerability

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers' Information May Have Been Compromised by Hackers

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.