WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is expected to clear Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry mobile devices for use on Defense Department networks in the next few weeks, part of an effort to ensure the military has access to the latest communications technology, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
The decision will set the stage for an intensified struggle for Pentagon customers among BlackBerry devices, Apple's iPhones or iPads and units using Google's Android platform such as Samsung Electronics' phones.
The Pentagon currently has some 600,000 users of smart phones, computer tablets and other mobile devices.
The plan was unveiled in February which is aimed at giving the military services a much broader range of choices among mobile devices.
The department currently has 470,000 BlackBerry users, 41,000 Apple users and 8,700 people with Android devices.
Most Apple and Android systems are in pilot or test programs.
Several mobile devices and operating systems are currently going through a security review and approval process with the Defence Information Systems Agency, the report said.
Once the devices have been cleared the process for creating a STIG, Security Technical Implementation Guide, Pentagon organizations will be able to order them knowing that they have the necessary security configuration to be used on the Defence Department's internal networks.
The security reviews are part of the Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan unveiled by the Pentagon in February.
Major General Robert Wheeler, deputy chief information officer, told reporters at the time that the effort aimed to ensure the Pentagon's mobile devices, wireless infrastructure and mobile applications remain "reliable, secure and flexible enough to keep up with the fast-changing technologies of today."