Marines want smart phone for classified, commercial systems
The Marine Corps is looking for a few good handheld devices.
Mobile platforms now in use by the Defense Department can’t access
multiple secure networks, or they use secure encryption systems that
prevent them from being sold commercially. A recent solicitation by the service asks industry to advance commercial mobile technology so it can benefit both the government and the public.
At the heart of the Marine Corps’ Trusted Handheld Platform effort is
a plan to develop and field commercially produced smart phones and
tablets that can also securely access the military’s secret and
unclassified but sensitive computer networks. The program also seeks to
establish a collaborative government/industry consortium to set
requirements and to “collectively influence development of mobile
devices towards including mutually beneficial security characteristics”
with the goal of reducing costs, speeding time to market and cutting
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Besides using public-private collaboration to mitigate long
certification processes, the program’s goal is to develop a technology
that will become a standard commercial mobile product that uses the same
hardware and software applications found in enterprise devices. These
new mobile devices must also support modular additions without any
re-engineering or modification to their architecture to meet security
requirements for use in high-security networks, the solicitation states.
The program has several specific goals and requirements for trusted handheld devices. They include:
- Isolation technology to separate software
components, control intra-domain access and isolate device resources
while providing trustworthy data paths for user interfaces and
- Multi-personality, providing a handheld
architecture that will support guest mobile operating systems while
preventing the unnecessary consumption of computing resources.
Other desired capabilities include a hardware root of trust, trusted
boot loaders, multiple active user domains, domain indicators, and the
ability to run Suite B encryption that meets Federal Information
Processing Standards publication 140-2 and National Security Agency
When completed, the technology could be made available to the rest of
government and the general public, according to the notice.