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From the Cloud to Your Pentagon-Issued Phone

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Defense officials are in the process of figuring out how to adapt Web-based collaboration tools into apps that can be accessed from any computer, including tablets and smartphones. 

The department is partnering with vendors so that as they develop cloud services, those programs can be accessed from mobile devices, Jennifer Carter, the top acquisition executive at the Defense Information Systems Agency, told Nextgov.

DISA already has begun to merge cloud and mobile with, for example, a cloud-based email service that can be accessed from smartphones. An app store in the works is expected to propel the convergence, Carter said. 

The idea is that, in the future, it should only take "a little bit more effort" to turn cloud offerings into mobile apps. Providers “are thinking about it ahead of time and then we can quickly house that into the mobile infrastructure that we’ve developed," she said. 

"We haven’t quite figured out exactly how that’s going to work, but want to do it in a way that allows us to leverage the DoD application development that stresses support for sharing -- so everybody doesn’t have to go in and develop their own app for something," Carter added. 

As of January, Defense's departmentwide mobile device program supported 16 apps and was in the process of screening more than 90 others. 

The Army and even some intelligence agencies are among the organizations that have switched to the Defensewide webmail service, Carter said. The application provides professional contact information, calendar sharing and secure mail exchanges.

More than 1.6 million military users, including, most recently, Air Force members, have access to the service, DISA officials said in February. At the time, officials intended to transition about 150,000 classified Air Force email accounts during the next several months. All military components must start shifting to the departmentwide mail service by the first quarter of 2015.

Nextgov earlier this year reported that the Marine Corps might use a commercial cloud service provider instead of the DISA cloud to host its version of the Global Combat Support System.

(Image via 3Dstock/Shutterstock.com)

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