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CHIPS Articles: DISA’s unclassified mobility solution adds capabilities, keeps costs down

DISA’s unclassified mobility solution adds capabilities, keeps costs down
By CHIPS Magazine - October 23, 2018
The Department of Defense (DoD) Mobility Program continues to expand its unclassified service offerings into fiscal year 2019, and the good news is — they’re being offered at fiscal year 2018 prices, the Defense Information Systems Agency said in a release.

The Defense Mobility Unclassified Capability (DMUC) is currently in use on more than 120,000 mobile devices, which until recently was only available to organizations using Defense Enterprise Email (DEE).

“We’re happy to extend DMUC to those wishing to bring their native email addresses,” said Jake Marcellus, DISA Mobility Portfolio manager. “Over the last couple years the program has really taken off, almost quadrupling in users.”

As spotlighted in the DISA director’s latest Drumbeat, Vice Adm. Nancy Norton described how DMUC continues to roll out new features, such as the Apple device enrollment program.

Other improvements include automating the on-boarding process, growing the mobile application store to more than 1,000 supported apps, and providing derived credentialing to send and receive encrypted email. Upcoming features include a digital signature app for PDFs – a first in DoD – mobile endpoint protection, mobile content management, and assisting organizations with forensics scanning of their DMUC devices.

Most recently, DMUC supported the Army’s Hurricane Florence relief efforts in North and South Carolina by approving and deploying apps to assist with their missions. From vetting to deploying DMUC devices took less than two hours, DISA reported.

The Air Force also recently leveraged DMUC to support test and evaluation (T&E) of a mobile app for data capture and transactions related to aircraft maintenance.

“The Air Force contacted us with a very aggressive T&E schedule. We were able to perform comprehensive app security testing and deploy the app in the DMUC app store, meeting the Air Force schedule,” Smith said. “This app improves aircraft availability by giving maintainers more time turning wrenches and less time walking to a terminal. We continue to seek opportunities to ‘operationalize’ DMUC,” said Al Smith, DMUC program manager.

At the beginning of fiscal year 2018, DISA announced service costs would decrease from $7.54 to $4.31 per device — per month. At the start of fiscal FY 2019, costs for the enhanced service remain the same.

Emphasizing the great value and security benefits of this DISA service, Smith said, “If I am an organization with a mission to do ‘xyz’, why would I want to commit resources, worry about the latest software update, manage contracts, run an enterprise mobility management platform, oversee the Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG), manage license purchase and expiration, or monitor and react to threats? We want mission partners to rely on DISA’s DMUC to do that for them.

DISA manages and maintains the required authority to operate, ensures STIG compliance, executes U.S. Cyber Command and Joint Force Headquarters – DoD Information Networks directives, while at the same time monitoring the network, Smith said. “Most don’t realize the complexity of taking commercial enterprise mobility management and placing it in the DoDIN.”

Transitioning an organization that isn’t using the DoD’s enterprise email service to DMUC is a bit of a challenge due to the different email domains, infrastructure variations, and unique mission requirements in DoD organizations. Transition requires some initial front-end work to connect to customers’ non-DEE email exchange environments, Smith explained.

Smith said the DMUC program office has received a number of requests from DoD and federal organizations who want to use their native email client with the DMUC service. “The DMUC team wants to say ‘yes we can’ [to all potential customers] until something makes us say no.”

For more information about DISA’s unclassified and classified offerings, visit the Mobility User Corner at https://disa.deps.mil/ext/cop/dod_mobility (Common Access Card required) or contact the DISA Mission Partner Engagement Office.

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