DISA mobility update: 40,000 unclassified devices by 2015


DISA said it currently manages about 4,000 unclassified Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices. (Credit: Apple)

The Defense Information Systems Agency considers its mobility program “well greased” and expects to integrate up to 40,000 unclassified devices across the military and Defense Department by the end of 2015.

In a Wednesday conference call with reporters, Mark Orndorff, DISA mission assurance executive, and Kimberly Rice, DISA portfolio manager for mobility, said they will be spending the rest of this year and the next moving DOD into a new suite of devices.

DISA expects to increase the number of classified and unclassified devices. Currently, DISA manages around 270 classified Motorola RAZR MAXX phones, with a goal of deploying 1,500 by the end of 2015.


On the unclassified side, DISA has deployed around 4,000 Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices, and expects that number to increase tenfold by the end of next year.

Both Orndorff and Rice said they are satisfied with device availability and DISA has the ability to keep up with the rollout of commercial products, including Apple’s recent release of the iPhone 6.

However, Rice said it’s not a free-for-all when it comes to new devices, due to agencies or offices that have to wait for funding to purchase new products. She also has to account for the fact that older BlackBerry products are still widely used: Rice estimates the DISA still manages around 80,000 to 85,000 BlackBerry devices.

“Just because a new device is out, [agencies aren’t] going to necessarily turn around, break their contract and get a new device,” Rice said.

While the majority of unclassified devices are registered with the Army, Rice said DISA is working with the Navy and Air Force on some pilot programs that could bring Android into the fold in 2015.


With new technology being phased in, Rice said DISA will also be working to phase out SME-PEDs, which was once the only mobile device cleared for classified use.

“We have requirements and are working across departments and federal agencies to phase out SME-PEDs and verify how many folks are going to need replacement devices,” Rice said.

As far as protection for unclassifed devices, Orndorff said he doesn’t expect DISA to issue any Secure Technical Implementation Guide approvals before the year is out. The agency issued STIGs for BlackBerry, Samsung KNOX and MDM management provider Good Technologies earlier this year.

Orndorff called the STIG process a “very dynamic area” and is working with “several different vendors” to move products through the authorization process, which has been integrated with the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP). Last week, Samsung was approved for handling classified documents after going through various NIAP security tests.

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