Want An iPad? Pentagon CIO Thinks You Should Be Able To Have One

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DeMarco Banter:
“Anyone ever used a government computer AFTER the DoD got a hold of it? Not sure it will still really be an iPad when they are done… Just saying….”

NextGov.com
February 8, 2012

Want An iPad? Pentagon CIO Thinks You Should Be Able To Have One.

By Bob Brewin

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Teri Takai, the Defense Department’s chief
information officer, kicked off a speech at the Armed Forces Communications
and Electronics Association Cyberspace Symposium on Wednesday by asking,
“Everyone wants an iPad, right?” and then implied quick deployment of tablet
computers and smartphones across the department without defining the
timeline.

Takai said, “we have to get those devices out there,” but cautioned their
use had to conform to strict information security guidelines. One way to
ensure that compliance, she told the audience, was to embed it within
Defense networks rather than in the hardware.

She also said Defense plans to move away from reliance on PCs and shift to
thin clients — dumb terminals with only a keyboard and monitor, which get
their computing power from a remote server. Last week, Northrop Grumman
Corp. said it tapped Beatty and Company Computing to supply thin clients for
its $637.8 million Navy Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services
contract.

“The demand for thin clients and mobile devices will [continue] to grow,”
Takai said, noting there are roughly 50 mobile computing pilots under way in
Defense. She cautioned that incorporating tablet computers and smartphones
into Defense networks, particularly those that are classified, remains a
challenge.

She promised “quick adoption” of commercial mobile devices within the
department, which will lead to speedy development of software applications.
With mobile devices, the Pentagon and the services will be able to develop
and deploy applications in “days, weeks or months” rather than the years
Defense traditionally has spent on creating them, she said.

The Defense CIO office has developed a new enterprise information
environment roadmap in conjunction with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Cyber
Command based on open, modular, interoperable and secure standards intended
for global operations, including those on the battlefield. Army Gen. Martin
Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will be briefed on the new plan
Friday, Takai said.

The new roadmap will help equip tactical users “much more quickly than
today” said Takai, who also expects it to help Cyber Command gain greater
visibility into Defense networks.

Defense has an information technology budget of $38 billion a year, and the
Pentagon must operate more efficiently to maximize the effect of that
spending, she said. Toward this end, the department is continuing to
consolidate its 772 Defense data centers, which have a utilization rate of
between 6 percent and 15 percent. The Pentagon estimated in November 2011
that it could save $680 million a year starting in 2015 from data center
consolidation.

Defense also can save money by consolidating hardware and software buys. The
Air Force has demonstrated savings from streamlining network gateways, Takai
said. The Air Force chopped its network gateways from 110 to 16, which will
result in savings of $140 million over the next five years.

Network optimization not only will save money but also will increase
security and improve user satisfaction, Takai said.

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