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DOD's report aims to improve military mobile technology

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Where does RIM, Google and Apple stand?

The United States military has recently released a report outlining new strategies to better utilize mobile technology in conjunction with maintaining adequate security and reliability.

The Department of Defense's report (.pdf) lays the groundwork for future strategies that will harness mobile technology within military and high-security establishments.

Currently, Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, is one of the most popular mobile devices for officials to use due to its centralized data network -- and therefore enhanced security and extremely high encryption levels. The Pentagon is currently RIM's biggest customer.

Competitors Apple and Google are slightly behind in the running. Apple will not allow its source code to be modified but its security protocols on mobile devices have improved through third-party development, and although Google's Android model is slowly turning heads, it does not currently have the same security capabilities as the Blackberry.

The DOD runs a number of pilot schemes and initiatives that involve mobile devices, and the aim of the report is to synchronize and bring these ideas closer together. From the Pentagon outwards, the DOD hopes to improve information flow, sharing and collaboration between military departments.

Pentagon's chief information officer Teri Takai hopes that the report will lay the necessary groundwork for increasing communication and clarifying the U.S. military's position on mobile technology. This would not be limited to existing technology, but will also clarify how future applications and mobile devices can be integrated into governmental and military frameworks. She said:

"This strategy is not simply about embracing the newest technology - it is about keeping the DoD workforce relevant in an era when information and cyberspace play a critical role in mission success."

Retired Army general and vice president of communications equipment maker Harris Corp, Dennis Moran, welcomed the report. Having once ran the White House Communications Agency, Moran believes that it will help bring clarification to governmental and military policy.

"People have been calling for this for years," said Moran. "It's acknowledging that the world is moving toward mobility and the department’s got to move in that same direction."

The U.S. military currently uses over a quarter of a million Blackberry devices, and has been involved in pilot schemes that use Apple devices.

Image credit: Brian Gautreau

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure