The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has deployed the initial version of its unclassified mobility capability, which will provide military and civilian Defense Department personnel with access to a wide selection of mobile devices, applications and services.
DISA’s Defense Department Mobility Unclassified Capability (DMUC) version 1.0 was released on January 31 and will be built out in increments to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year, according to DISA officials. The program currently supports some 1,800 unclassified mobile devices: the iPad 3 and 4 tablets, iPhone 4s and 5 smart phones, Samsung 10.1 tablets, Samsung 3s and Motorola RAZR. The program also supports 80,000 BlackBerry phones.
With the January 31 rollout, the DMUC will begin a phased transition to version 1.0 capabilities. These include a mobile device management system, a mobile application store, an approved devices list, supported cellular access, Defense Department public key infrastructure (PKI) support, and the transition of approved applications and enterprise services for mobility including Enterprise Email, the Global Address List, Tier 2/3 service desk support and Defense Connect Online.
The DMUC release currently supports iOS devices with other devices and capabilities to come in 90-day spirals to keep up with the changing nature of the Defense Department’s mobility ecosystem, John Hickey, DISA Defense Department mobility portfolio manager, explains. “This incremental, agile implementation, using 90-day spirals, provides enhanced and assured mobile capability to the warfighter, while at the same time ensuring the agency methodically addresses the complexities involved in integrating a secure interface with DOD networks,” he says.
There are currently 16 mobile applications available through the DMUC program with an additional 90 being vetted. To help with the provisioning, management and access control over the mobile software, DISA has deployed a mobile applications store along with a mobile device management system as part of release version 1.0, Hickey says.
The mobile applications store provides an automated repository of tested and approved applications. This provides a baseline set of applications with additional approved applications being added periodically, Hickey explains. The applications store also includes enterprise license management services.
Although many Defence Department organizations are lining up to take advantage of the DMUC, Hickey notes that DISA first is focusing on transitioning pilot program users to the current mobile device management system. He adds that the agency is working with the services to bring new users into the mobility program in phases.
The Defense Department is following a phased approach to provide its personnel with secure mobility capabilities that lead to improved unclassified and classified services, Hickey says. He adds that “DISA has been working with the services to incorporate lessons learned from service pilot activities, which will help ensure interoperability, refine mobile device management requirements, influence commercial standards, and create cost and operational efficiencies for DOD enterprise mobile users. DISA is also coordinating with commercial vendors in this rapidly moving environment.”
A key part of the DMUC is the development of a secure adaptive mobile environment. DISA is working towards the Defense Department’s Mobile Device Strategy, which seeks to take advantage of mobile devices’ full potential, Hickey says. The strategy focuses on improving three areas critical to mobility: wireless infrastructure, the mobile device itself and mobile applications. “It allows mobile activities across departments to converge toward a common vision and approach,” he shares.
But the Defense Department’s strategy is not simply to embrace the latest technology, Hickey maintains. Its goal is to keep the department relevant and adaptive in a time when information and cyberspace play critical roles in mission success.
After the release of version 1.0, DISA will follow up with version 2.0 early in the second quarter of the 2014 fiscal year. The second release will provide enhanced and expanded capabilities such as gateway support for unclassified communications, enhanced ability to support more multivendor devices and operating systems, and an office capability package to allow the editing of Word documents and other Microsoft Office files, Hickey says.