Department of Defense moving towards Apple Smartphones and Tablets?

At GeoSpatial Experts we have been seeing private companies and local government moving towards Apple and Android devices for several years. We expected it might be several more years before that change was implemented in the federal government, particularly the defense department but lately we have been reading that it might be sooner that we thought.

In February of this year Bloomberg released a story that the U.S. Defense Department would begin opening its communication networks in 2014 to Apple and Google smartphones and tablets. Bloomberg reported that the Pentagon moving towards flexibility on both its unclassified and classified networks. The Pentagon currently has more than 600,000 mobile devices, including 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple products and 8,700 platforms running Google’s Android operating system, according to the story. Many of the Apple and Android products aren’t connected to Defense Department networks except for testing. Right now it appears that the change in policy is towards government owned devices and there is still no policy supporting bring-your-own devices owned by military personnel.

This month Electronista reported that the Department of Defense has a pending purchase order for Apple hardware after the sequester has ended. “Following completion of the first phases of the project, as well as a few other initiatives coming to fruition, the Department of Defense will be ordering just over 650,000 iOS devices from Apple following conclusion of the sequester.” They reported that the order included 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches, and 210,000 iPhones. Ultimate destinations for the hardware varies, with Electronista being told that “more than half are headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands. Most of the rest will stay [at the Pentagon].”