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Mobility in DoD – Let’s get this SHOW ON THE ROAD!

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Ever since I discovered that I could be productive AWAY from my desk, I have been addicted to mobility! I guess you probably are too. And, we take it completely for granted! I can solve 90% of my work requirements directly from my incredibly smart smart-phone! But when I hang out with my military colleagues, I have to be patient. It’s easy to forget how far behind DoD is in providing their workforce with a mobile capability. Most .mil folks are pretty much constrained to sitting-in-the-chair-at-the-office! (Horrors!) You can only do so much with a locked down Blackberry!

So it’s very satisfying to see DoD start really working on this issue. Every IT provider now has a “mobility” solution in the pipeline, and some of them are pretty cool. Of course, there is rampant duplication of efforts here, but that’s they way innovation happens. When we “standardize…normalize… consolidate…” we erode the ability to innovate! So multiple approaches can actually be a benefit to creativity.

NSA makes the standards. Everyone has to comply with them. In an effort to make common problems easier to handle, NSA has created their Commercial Solutions for Classified “Capability Packages”. This is a pretty detailed look at how a military user could go “mobile”. A “to-do” list! Their Mobility Package Version 2.2 is available here.

DISA, of course, is preparing a “we-build-it – you-buy-it” solution for mobility. The military organization purchases whatever devices they want (as long as they are Samsung or Apple), and DISA will “manage” the devices for a fee ($7.36 per device/per month). Included in this management plan they will have an Application Store, negotiate good carrier rates, and manage security features (like tamper detection and device integrity).

Marine Corps wants to let their Marines use their personal devices, as long as they can load in some security features. Not exactly Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), but Personally Owned Corporate Enabled (POCE). They think they can manage them much cheaper than DISA (maybe as low as $5/month).

Navy is concentrating their efforts in creating an Afloat Storefront, loaded with all kinds of cool applications for the mobile Mission. The Navy Tactical Cloud Marketplace is expected to be where mission support widgets, services and applications can be obtained.

The best solutions will probably leverage enterprise-wide benefits that DISA can provide, while still enabling service-specific capabilities. Both classified and unclassified mobility will continue to grow. Let’s get DoD service members as connected as Industry is! No more returning to their cube in the Pentagon to discover 100’s of emails waiting for them. Let’s give them the capabilities that we have all been enjoying for the past few years!

 

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.