Mar 23 2015

Pentagon to Launch BYOD Pilot

The Defense Department will initiate a pilot this summer to test the logistics of a bring-your-own-device program.

The Pentagon is warming up to the idea of allowing its mobile-device-using personnel to perform work duties with their personal smartphones.

“We’re going to put a pilot out this summer on bring your own device,” Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen told reporters during a conference call last week. “It won’t be easy.”

Halvorsen noted that many big enterprises are rescinding BYOD programs. “I’m not saying that’s the right answer everywhere, and what I suspect will happen in DOD because of our size and all the businesses we’re in, there will be places that bring your own device is going to work in. There are going to be a whole lot of places where it doesn’t.”

He equated the department’s adoption of BYOD to cloud computing, in that cloud must be evaluated to determine where it is the proper fit.

“I think one of the things that would be helpful is if people did some homework on bring your own device, where that’s working and where it’s not,” he added.

DOD headquarters staff will be the primary test subjects in the pilot program. Devices used in the pilot will have to meet the agency’s security standards, and DOD must be able to track security measures on them, but it isn’t clear what methods will be used. “How to measure that in meaningful ways is … driving me a little crazy,” he said.

DOD Rolls Out Dual-Persona Devices

The department has begun distributing both classified and unclassified devices to mobile users.

For unclassified operations, the department has provided dual-persona devices that allow employees to do official business as well as check personal email and use apps such as Pandora.

The biggest problem is, DOD can’t get devices into the hands of high-demand users fast enough, Halvorsen said. He wouldn’t specify who qualifies for these devices but said users include senior officials.

“It just makes an integrated work-life balance for people,” he said.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins/Released

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