DISA Seeks Deal on Mobile Apps

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Agency also wants to evaluate next-generation hardware.

The Defense Information Systems Agency announced it would like a discount on its future purchases of mobile applications, as it kicked off the process to evaluate next-generation smartphones and tablet computers.

DISA’s Mobility Project Office asked vendors last Friday to provide it with information needed to evolve its mobile application strategy. On June 27, 2013, the agency awarded a $16 million contract to Digital Management Inc. to securely manage mobile devices and set up a mobile app store.

DISA said it needs industry help because of the way apps are developed and deployed in the commercially driven environment. The Mobility Project Office put price first in its request for information to industry, asking, “What are industry best practice for purchasing enterprise applications at reduced rates to support Android, Apple, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile Operating Systems?”

DISA said it plans to host provider-developed apps in-house and needs industry input on the challenges of moving those from a vendor environment to its secure app store. 

The agency anticipates its customers will require integration of their mobile apps with "back-end" Defense, civilian and commercial systems and databases and asked for insight on the key considerations and challenges in integrating mobile apps with back-end systems.

The Mobility Project Office said it also requires the ability to rapidly evaluate, assess and obtain approval for next-generation classified mobile hardware and asked industry to identify next-generation smartphones and tablets that will comply with National Security Agency standards.

As of May, only 2,000 unclassified mobile devices within DOD use the mobile management system even though the Pentagon's target is to have 100,000 signed on to the system by this September.

DISA wants industry to help it assess the life span of mobile devices in a market where turnover of hardware is measured in months and not years, the update process and if hardware can be transitioned between carriers. Replies to the application RFI and the hardware RFI are due July 11.

(Image via Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com)