Army sees smart phone strategy as continuing process

With focus shifting from the network to the technologies and services that use it, in addition to a nearly insatiable demand for mobile access, the Army has to find the right balance between security, requirements and the demand for mobile devices, says an Army official, reports FCW, a sister publication of Defense Systems.

The Army is pursuing a strategy that will allow it to take advantage of integrating the best technology and the best solutions we can afford at the time, so that we increase the capabilities of our soldiers, Mike McCarthy, operations director of the Army’s Brigade Modernization Command’s Mission Command Complex, told FCW, a sister publication of Defense Systems, on Sept. 18 at the Defense Systems Summit.

He said the focus is more on security and capabilities, and less on whether the device is an iPhone, Android, Blackberry or other brand.

“We’re trying to maintain our neutrality on devices and operating systems so that we can take advantage of this exponentially changing environment. Who could have predicted five years ago that Android would be as mature as it is now?” McCarthy said.

There are no slam-dunks, though. There have been ongoing struggles with proprietary technology and Defense Department security standards – Apple being one of the most prominent – and the Army is evaluating options, including RIM and Windows devices, that previously didn’t fit the requirements but are now contenders.

"When I first started, everyone said ‘Oh, iPad is the answer,’ but what we’ve found is that from a security standpoint, Android has leapt a great distance ahead of iOS. Who can tell me five years from now what the best operating system, best model or best device will be?” McCarthy said. “It’s not a pick-one-and-stick-with-it-for 25-years; it’s a continuing process.”

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