Pentagon Approves Use of Apple iPhones, iPads

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The U.S. Defense Department has released a security guide for smart phones and tablet computers made by Apple Inc., setting the stage for their wider use on military networks.

The Pentagon’s Defense Information Systems Agency last week approved a so-called Security Technical Implementation Guide, or STIG, for devices running the iOS 6 operating system. The software developed by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company runs the latest versions of the iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iPod Touch.

The move “means that government-issued iOS 6 mobile devices are approved for use when connecting to [Defense Department] networks within current mobility pilots or the future mobile device management framework,” the agency said in a statement.

The decision will lead to more competition against BlackBerry, which makes the most widely used smart phone within the Defense Department.

“The release of the Apple iOS 6 STIG is a major stride in building a multi-vendor environment, supporting a diverse selection of devices and operating systems,” according to the statement.

The agency, based at Fort Meade, Md., earlier this month also approved software that controls the newest BlackBerry and Samsung devices, including the BlackBerry 10 operating system running the Z10 phone and the PlayBook tablet, as well as the Samsung Knox operating system running the Galaxy S4 phone. Knox is based on the Android operating system made by Google Inc.

The agency plans to award a contract to a company early this summer to begin building a system to manage mobile devices and and protect them from cyber attacks, according to spokeswoman Alana Casanova. The potential value of the deal wasn’t specified.

The Pentagon wants the management system and an associated application store to support at least 100,000 mobile devices from multiple vendors by February. The military uses about 600,000 commercial mobile devices in operations and testing. That includes about 470,000 BlackBerry devices, 41,000 Apple platforms and 8,700 Android-based systems.

Despite the push for more types of devices, the Defense Department has no plans to allow service members and civilians to use their own smart phones on defense networks.

Teri Takai, the department’s chief information officer, has said the recent bring-your-own-device trend in the civilian workplace “presents many compelling benefits,” though existing Pentagon policies and security vulnerabilities prevent adopting unapproved devices that are purchased outside of the government acquisition process.

 

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

9 Comments on "Pentagon Approves Use of Apple iPhones, iPads"

  1. Must be a slow news day – this was published last Friday.

  2. Its hard to believe that the military would do this, considering all of Apple products are manufactured in China, where the Chinese government could easily put in a hidden spy program…

  3. USS ENTERPRISE | May 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm |

    This is an excellent step forward. The iPhone and iPad are some of the most widely used technologies in the US. This new plan should add interoperability and efficiency to the military.

  4. Uncle Bill | May 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm |

    Another wide open door for the Chinese to choose from.

  5. Im sick of the thumbs down people get for warning of chinese espionage. As if the last decade of blatant theft of our technology hasn't been enough evidence that they will do anything and everything to steal from us. Imbeciles! Notice how many of our imported parts for military equipment are defective because they are made in china!

  6. I wonder how (if) they closed APPLE's backdoor?

  7. GroUpFolks | May 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |

    Here we go again. Making technology an excuse for letting down our guard MORE than ever. We have "computerized" ourselves to death. We won't know how to take care of ourselves as individuals as well as a country unless it sings, beeps, and has an IT person connected.

  8. pls what os does the pentagon make use of, is it linux, windos 8 or 7 or mac

  9. Here we go again. Creating technological innovation an reason for allowing down our secure MORE than ever. We have “computerized” ourselves to loss of life. We won’t know how to manage ourselves as people as well as a nation unless it performs, beeps, and has an IT individual linked.

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