Navy Plans for Android and iOS Devices

Published, December 23, 2014

Currently, the Navy's 28,000 smartphone users are limited to using older BlackBerry devices, but that will begin to change this month and continuing through Dec. 2015. The Navy Enterprise Networks (NEN) Program Office is making progress on plans to transition to more modern mobile devices. ...

Installation of mobile device management software from Good Technology, now underway, will provide NEN users the ability to check their email, access Navy web portals, use instant messaging, and access other NEN resources securely from both iOS and Android devices. The iOS and Android devices will use a Good Technology "container" to securely segregate official data from personal data, thus allowing users the ability to perform government work and personal activities securely and effectively on the same device. Personal use of mobile devices will be permitted to the extent currently allowed by Navy policy.

An initial capability will be installed on the East Coast by the end of Dec. 2014, and this will be closely followed by support for the West Coast and Hawaii. Following these initial installations, the program office will move quickly to expand capacity across the Continental United States to ensure that all BlackBerry users will have the option to move to a new device by the end of Calendar Year 2015. Early users will be able to choose between the iPhone 5c and 5s, but the Navy wants to be as flexible as possible and allow users to pick the devices that will work best for them, and plans to approve a wider range of devices. Approval to use the iPhone 6 and iPad Air is expected in Jan. or Feb. 2015, and approval to use Samsung Android phones and tablets is expected in March.

In addition to the capabilities already discussed, Navy iOS and Android users will be able to use the "native" apps that come with the devices as part of the operating system, such as email, navigation, and calendar.

Though the focus of the effort's early stages will be on enabling new devices and transitioning BlackBerry users, further usability and functionality enhancements are planned. For example, the ability to use soft certs derived from the user's CAC will enable users to sign and encrypt emails or access CAC-enabled websites without the need for a CAC and CAC reader.

Looking beyond the device transition, the Navy has established a mobility project team with representation from across the Navy. This team is tasked with, among other things, writing a Navy mobility strategy, reviewing mobile initiatives for potential adoption across the Navy, and assessing the impact and effectiveness of migrating to recommended new mobile capabilities.

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