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DISA is about to begin distributing Apple and Android devices across the military. (STAFF / AFP)

The Defense Information Systems Agency will begin deploying initial capabilities this month to support thousands of Apple and Android devices across the military.

The initial roll out, or version 1.0 of the mobile device management solution, is set for Jan. 31 and will focus on managing unclassified devices, DISA announced Thursday.

Initial capabilities will include mobile application store and transition of approved apps and enterprise services for mobility, including DoD Enterprise Email, the Pentagon’s Global Address List and Defense Connect Online.

After the Jan. 31 roll out, DISA’s plan is to release new capabilities in 90-day increments. The next major release is planned for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 and will include “an office capability package to enable editing of Word documents and other Microsoft Office items,” DISA said.

The agency is building capacity to support 100,000 devices by year’s end.

It isn’t clear how many customers DISA will be able to support come Jan. 31, but the agency is working with the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, Human Resource Command from the Army and other customers with large mission needs to connect devices to the network. “AMC has more than 18,000 flight bag devices and HRC anticipates more than 10,000 users,” according to DISA.

“All future customer transition schedules are based on the priority set by mission partners,” DISA said.

In June, DISA awarded a $16 million contract to technology firm DMI to provide software that can centrally manage smartphones and tablet computers and control which apps are used on those devices. Under the contract, DISA will have the ability to centrally manage up to 300,000 devices.

Today, DISA’s mobility program supports 1,800 unclassified mobile devices including iPad 3 and 4, iPhone 4S and 5, Samsung 10.1 tablets and Samsung 3S, and Motorola RAZR devices. However, BlackBerry devices still dominate the DoD landscape, considering the mobility program supports 80,000 BlackBerry smartphones.

The program also supports 16 mobile applications, and DISA is in the process of vetting more than 90 applications.

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