Air Force begins first wave of mobile device distribution

The Air Force has begun the first wave of mobile device distribution in an effort to heighten the service's mobile operational potential of its Airmen and the real-time functionality of its executives, according to a Feb. 19 news release.

The first stage of distribution, which involves the delivery and distribution of approximately 10,000 devices, was announced by Air Force Space Command commander Gen. William Shelton, the Air Force said.

"We are providing tools to enhance operational capabilities for our Airmen," said Shelton. "Harnessing the right technology from both the public and private sectors plays an important role in these efforts."

As a part of its plans to improve mobile communications, all Air Force major commands were notified in January of an initial operational capability rollout that includes mobile solutions for smart phone and tablet users. The program represents an element of an integrated and collaborative effort across the Air Force and the Defense Department.

"Our approach allows personnel to use the Apple operating system and Android tools to access e-mail, calendar, contacts, documents and certain applications in accordance with DOD guidelines for mobile device security," said Brig. Gen. Kevin Wooton said, the Air Force Space Command's communications and information director.

Official data is encrypted and kept within a secure container at all times, while the device can be used for Air Force approved personal applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, outside of the container, the service said. Keeping the personal applications outside the container maintains the separation of an Airman's personal and official data and adheres to the social media policy previously established by the DOD.

"The objectives are centered on added productivity and capability, all within a properly balanced security approach," Wooton said. "The mobile device and application solutions allow us to tap into the fast-moving stream of technology development in the commercial market, but with the security and functionality needed for Air Force users."

By implementing a security management platform, the Air Force can safeguard against lost, stolen or damaged phones and tablets, the service said. The Air Force can also track devices or wipe data remotely from the device at the application level, quickly and comprehensively.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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