The Army’s deputy chief information officer is proposing a new plan that would expand the Army’s mobility strategy beyond the BlackBerry and allow users to do government work on their personal devices.
If the Army works aggressively through partnerships with the National Security Agency and industry, it could be ready to release a request for proposal for mobile technology within the next 12 months, said Army deputy CIO Mike Krieger, at a mobility event last week. The contract would provide a large number of soldiers, contractors and civilians with zero client mobile devices, or smartphones that have no operating systems or software and only serve as a connector between the user and applications running in the data center.
“Data that is traditionally stored on the device would be running in a data center,” Krieger said. The technology would allow people to use their own devices for personal and government business.
Currently, BlackBerry is the “primary game in town” because it meets Defense Department security requirements, which include encryption standards and the ability to verify users with a Common Access Card, Krieger said. Zero client technology would help the Army more easily meet security requirements.
The Army’s ongoing transition to enterprise email services through the Defense Information Systems Agency has improved the Army’s oversight of its mobile devices, Krieger said. Before moving to DISA provided enterprise email, Krieger said many functions on the BlackBerry didn’t work because the software was not configured properly.
“Now, I know how many I have, and I can do enterprise policies, and I have better security,” he said.
The Army halted its migration to enterprise email in December because of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that temporarily withheld funding for the program, pending a detailed review.
Krieger said he expects the Army will resume migration on or about March 17.
“Email is really the first step in going DoD enterprise services,” he said. “It has little to do with email.”