CACI International Inc. has altered “thousands” of Apple Inc. iPads so they can be used securely by the U.S. government, according to Dan Allen, CACI’s chief executive officer.
“It’s a neutered iPad,” Allen said today during a meeting with Bloomberg Government reporters and editors. “We’re working on how do we effectively brand it.”
The iPad work is one example of how the federal contractor is investing in mobile technology to help offset reduced revenue tied to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
“We’re looking at how do you go chase that market and how do you put partnerships in place,” Allen said. “The things that we’re doing with Apple around mobility -- it’s a broad market play.”
CACI, based in Arlington, Virginia, secures iPads for the government by altering the hardware rather than by providing software, Allen said. While the iPad’s wireless connectivity and camera are among the features he said are risky in a top-secret environment, he declined to provide details on how CACI secures the devices.
A representative for Cupertino, California-based Apple didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on CACI’s work.
Apple has been gaining traction in the federal government. The Defense Department in October said it plans to open its network for the first time to iPhones, as well as devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system.
The move may be a threat to Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, which has counted on U.S. government users as commercial sales of its wireless devices have declined.
IPad adopters within the government include President Barack Obama, who has said he uses one to watch National Basketball Association games.
Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the New York-based American Civil Liberties Union, in September wrote on the organization’s blog that the president receives his daily intelligence briefing on a neutered iPad. Stanley cited a National Security Agency official.
The NSA didn’t immediately provide a comment, and Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, declined to comment on the security of Obama’s device.
Allen said iPads used by U.S. government leaders are “most likely a product that either came from us or came from someone we work with.”