DISA Eyes Tablets and Smartphones for Europe, Mideast and Africa

Bob Brewin | NextGov | November 10, 2011

While Apple and Google have yet to win government security certification for their operating systems that power smartphones and tablets, the Defense Information Systems Agency signaled in a notice to industry Tuesday that it wants to use commercial mobile devices in its network.

DISA has to replace two existing contracts that provide wireless services and hardware for forces in the European Command, Central Command and African Command. Any new contract should include smartphones and tablets that run on the Apple, Android and Microsoft operating systems, according to the work statement included with its request for information on European telecommunications requirements, which includes end users in Europe, the Mideast, Afghanistan and Africa.

The agency also wants to beef up this network with wireless nodes and hardware that connect cellular networks to Wi-Fi wireless local area networks using commercial Mi-Fi hardware sold to home users by carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Developed by Novatel Wireless of San Diego, Mi-Fi is a mobile wireless router that uses commercial cellular carriers to connect to the Internet. The router supports up to five Wi-Fi users, allowing those with the gear to create their own mobile Wi-Fi hot spot...