A Mobile Military Mandates New Security Solutions

November 17, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Enhanced capabilities demand complex solutions.


Mobile is the way of the future for the Defense Department, and commercial technologies will play a defining role. And, as with any networked systems, security is key. Yet building security into commercial mobile devices presents a host of challenges, according to a panel of government and industry officials directly involved with this technology thrust.

Speaking at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015, being held in Honolulu, November 17-19, panel moderator Cecilia Phan, senior engineer, Office of the Defense Department Chief Information Officer (CIO), emphasized “Unless we modernize mobile capabilities, we are at risk of losing critical capability for delivering vital services.” She described three key steps: first, the department must build mobile network infrastructures to support wireless mobile solutions. Second, the department needs a framework for a commercial mobile solution. And third, this mobile network must deliver mobile content that is critical data for warfighters.

John Hickey, director of risk assessment, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), stated, “We’re going to get rid of all those laptops and go mobile. The challenge will be maintaining security.” Phan elaborated on his remarks, adding, “This is not about the newest toy or technology; it’s about relevant capabilities.”

Rick Bueno, founder and chief strategy officer, CyberReliant, noted that international partnerships are underway, and proprietary solutions will be key. But, you cannot become either too commercial or too government, he warned. If you become too close to the Defense Department, he said, you run the risk of being a quasi-GOTS (government off-the-shelf) capability, which could hurt potential international cooperation.

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