Pentagon Plans to Clear Apple Devices for Network Use

The U.S. Defense Department expects to clear Apple Inc. mobile devices for use on its networks early next week, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

The move would give Cupertino, California-based Apple the chance to eventually compete for military market share with BlackBerry, the Pentagon’s dominant smartphone supplier, and Samsung Electronics Co., which gained the department’s certification earlier this month.

An approval next week would allow government-issued devices running Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 6, to access military networks, said Alana Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s Defense Information Systems Agency.

Widespread adoption of Apple products by the military could only occur after the Pentagon builds a mobile device management system to secure the devices, she said in an e-mail.

Separately, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology on May 3 granted Apple’s iOS 6 a certification known as the Federal Information Processing Standard for protecting sensitive data, Michael Cooper, a manager in the agency’s computer-security division, said in a phone interview.

Agencies that bought Apple mobile devices prior to the security approval were required to use a third-party application to comply with federal security requirements, Cooper said. The institute’s certification gives departments the ability “to go out and buy these products off the shelf and know that they’re getting security capabilities built in that meet government standards,” Cooper said.

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