updated 09:10 pm EDT, Wed October 31, 2012
Request for proposal asks for RIM, Android, Apple support
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), responsible for technology management at the Pentagon and other defense-related agencies, posted a request for proposal on October 22 seeking companies capable of managing devices made by Apple, Google, and RIM, with the intent of awarding the contract in April. The request implies a shift away from the previous near-universal standard of BlackBerry devices at the US military's headquarters is coming. The request for proposals was posted the same day that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency said that it would end its contract with RIM in favor of one with the Apple iPhone as its backbone.
"DISA is managing an enterprise email capability that continues to support large numbers of RIM devices while moving forward with the department's planned mobile management capability that will support a variety of mobility devices," a spokesman said. The DISA request for proposals said the program would oversee at least 162,500 devices to start, but that number could grow to 262,500 by the end of the contract. Ultimately, the Pentagon wants to support a total of 8 million devices across all branches of service, according to the request for proposals.
A Pentagon spokesman said the US military was working toward allowing approved outlets to supply other smartphones, yet still maintain strict security requirements. Given the prevalence of confidential and secret information in the US Military, the "bring your own device" movement currently underway in big business isn't an option.
RIM spokesman Paul Lucier said his company's BlackBerry Mobile Fusion product could also be used to manage Android and Apple devices. Lucier claims that RIM is "excited for the opportunity to include BlackBerry Mobile Fusion in the DOD's portfolio."