DISA Awards $16 Million Contract to Manage Mobile Devices


Software will enable secure operation of smartphones and tablets.

The Defense Information Systems Agency awarded Digital Management Inc., of Bethesda, Md., a three-year $16 million contract to securely manage smartphones and tablet computers throughout the Defense Department.

The contract also calls for DMI to set up and operate a mobile software applications store for use by Defense users.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech Thursday at the Brookings Institution that “a federated app store will allow any DoD user to write and share phone and tablet apps. By using off-the-shelf technology, we are bringing the full force of the tech revolution into the classified environment.”

Dempsey said Defense is “building a secure 4G wireless network that will get iPads, iPhones, and Android devices online by mid-2014.”  Mobile technology will “help us pioneer a new era of mobile command and control. This revolution will empower our greatest resource—the ingenuity of our people—and the philosophy of mission command we embrace,” Dempsey said.

When the Pentagon released its mobile device plan in February, Teri Takai, Defense’s chief information officer, said “the application of mobile technology into global operations, integration of secure and non-secure communications, and development of portable, cloud-enabled capability will dramatically increase the number of people able to collaborate and share information rapidly.”

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, DISA director, noted the security the new system will offer: “With the mobile device management system and mobile application store, we will be able to manage devices and the applications that our warfighters use while ensuring our networks and information are secure and protected.”

DISA said it planned to use mobile device management software to act as a “traffic cop” for mobile phones and computers connected to its network when it launched the procurement last October.

The management software, DISA said, should institute “policy, security and permissions that define the functions the user is enabled to conduct on the mobile device. This capability ensures the security of the entire user community is not compromised by an incorrectly configured device.” 

DISA also wanted software that could remotely wipe software on any tablet or phone connected to its networks.

The management software will also allow Defense to distribute applications from the app store over-the-air and “update and delete applications on the mobile device without the mobile device user having to return the device for service,” DISA said.

The management software should support 100,000 smartphones or tablets in the first year of operation and 300,000 in the third year, or all Defense mobile users, DISA said. 

(Image via Peshkova/Shutterstock.com)