DOD could set wireless policy next month

The Defense Department CIO is expected to sign a wireless policy next month that will set guidelines for using wireless devices across the department.

The policy will revise an earlier Pentagon wireless policy signed last fall, according to Dawn Meyerriecks, chief technology officer for the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Meyerriecks said she has been working with the CIO's office and with the National Security Agency to fine-tune the policy to submit to Defense CIO John Stenbit.

'A draft of the new policy is floating around now,' Meyerriecks said. She predicted both DOD users and vendors would find the departmentwide policy to be more comprehensive than the Pentagon policy.

The Pentagon Area Common IT Wireless Security Policy, established in October, prohibits Pentagon employees from connecting a wireless device to a classified network or computer. The policy also bans synchronizing a wireless device with IT devices that have not been approved by the Pentagon.

The policy also prohibits using wireless devices:

'as a primary means of communication for critical operations

'as part of a mission-critical system

'to download software.

The Pentagon policy allows the use of wireless devices such as cellular telephones and personal digital assistants for unclassified data and sensitive but unclassified data, if the wireless system has been approved.

Defense officials said that although wireless computing devices and infrastructure support systems can increase connectivity, they also increase security vulnerabilities.

The devices come with 'some deficits as well as some benefits,' said Air Force Brig. Gen. Bernard K. Skoch, director of communications operations.

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