Pentagon officials yesterday (2 May 2013) approved the security technical implementation guides for BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, as well as Samsung's Android Knox, to be used on US Department of Defense (DoD) networks. Approval for other mobile vendors is expected to follow over time.
‘This is a significant step towards establishing a multivendor environment that supports a variety of state-of-the-art devices and operating systems,’ Air Force Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement announcing the approval.
With budgets under pressure in many countries, military organisations are increasingly looking at how they can deploy COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) products to keep their R&D and CapEx budgets down. Where often military R&D has led the way, in terms of wireless communications, the commercial world is far ahead in terms of function sophistication compared with many existing military radio systems, for example.
Several mobile devices and operating systems are going through the Defense Information Systems Agency's review and approval process. A security technical implementation guide approval establishes a configuration that allows a secure connection to DOD networks, which facilitates the process by eliminating the need for security reviews at the individual organisation level, Pickart explained.
However, he added, yesterday's decision does not result in product orders. The level of security necessary throughout the department does not rest solely on any one mobile device, Pickart said, adding that the network and software also must be secured and managed appropriately.
An integral part of the secure mobility framework will be the Mobility Device Management and Mobile Application Store, which is in source selection now and anticipated for award in early summer, he said.
‘We are pleased to add Blackberry 10 and the Samsung Knox version of Android to our family of mobile devices supporting the Department of Defense,’ the spokesman said. ‘We look forward to additional vendors also participating in this process, further enabling a diversity of mobile devices for use within the department.’
JK Shin, President and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, said today (3 May 2013): ‘We are very pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Defense has approved Samsung Knox-enabled devices for use in DoD networks.
‘This approval enables other government agencies and regulated industries such as health care and financial services to adopt Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. This is a significant milestone for Samsung as we work to grow our relationships within government and large corporate enterprises.
Injong Rhee, Senior Vice President and Head of B2B R&D Group, Samsung Electronics, added: ‘Samsung Knox delivers fundamental security at the platform level, while leaving the user experience consistent. Samsung Galaxy devices powered by Samsung Knox are highly secure mobile devices.’
The Samsung Galaxy S4 (pictured), recently launched in the global market, is the first smartphone to be enabled with Knox. Going forward, Samsung’s premium smartphones and tablets will feature Samsung Knox, the company said.
In addition to the DoD approval, Samsung said it is actively seeking certifications from other international government certification bodies for Samsung Knox-enabled devices to be used in government networks worldwide.