DISA's Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization will initially pay $2.9 million, although DMI could receive up to $16 million over three years depending on the contract's options. "With the mobile device management system and mobile application store, we will be able to manage devices and the applications that our warfighters use while ensuring our networks and information are secure and protected," DISA director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins said in a statement.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has been expanding its list of acceptable devices for military and government employees in an effort to build a mobile environment that supports a broad selection of devices, operating systems and vendors. In May, DISA approved the use of Apple iOS 6 on DOD's networks. Those devices joined BlackBerry's Z10 and Q10 -- running the new BlackBerry 10 operating system -- and Samsung's Galaxy S4 with Knox security software, which also got the green light in early May.
Earlier this year, DOD's chief information officer Teri Takai approved a Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan that permits the use of off-the-shelf mobile devices on military networks. The plan also calls for a "unified MDM architecture [that] secures, monitors, manages and supports accredited mobile devices across a range of DOD environments." Even before the plan was established, the military already had more than 600,000 mobile devices on its networks.
[ DISA is also looking for a cloud contractor. See Defense Dept. Seeks $450 Million Cloud Builder. ]
With the new MDM system in place, the DOD will be able to provision and manage its growing number of mobile devices using continuous monitoring and security features like malware detection, over-the-air (OTA) distribution of applications and remote data-wipe. The application store will operate in conjunction with the MDM system. For example, the DOD will be able to install, update and delete applications on users' devices remotely. This will ensure that only approved apps can be distributed on devices cleared by the DOD.
According to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the DOD currently operates 15,000 networks. "We are building a secure 4G wireless network that will get iPads, iPhones and Android devices online by mid-2014," Dempsey said in a speech at the Brookings Institute last week. "By using off-the-shelf technology, we are bringing the full force of the tech revolution into the classified environment."
DISA did not provide more specifics about the MDM contract. DMI is a Maryland-based company that specializes in mobile enterprise products and services and cybersecurity. Its client base includes all 15 of the U.S. federal departments.