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Pentagon Readies Contingency Plans Due To BlackBerry's Uncertain Future

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the sound-of-nails-being-hammered dept.

Blackberry 44

cold fjord writes "Nextgov reports, 'The Defense Department, owner of 470,000 BlackBerrys, is distancing itself from the struggling vendor while moving ahead with construction of a department wide app store and a system for securing all mobile devices, including the latest iPhones, iPads, and Samsung smartphones and tablets. Just two months ago, when BlackBerry announced the company would radically curtail commercial sales, Pentagon officials said their business partnership remained unaffected. ... A 2012 strategy to transition personnel from PCs to smartphones and tablets did not favor any one device maker ... "This multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach minimizes the impact of [a] single vendor to our current operations," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said. Implementation of the strategy centers on a "mobile device management" system to track handhelds that touch military networks so that they do not compromise military information or corrupt Defense systems.'"

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Doesnt matter which vendor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412281)

They all have the second OS for NSA snooping so Pentagon can always get their content back from NSA.

Government (5, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about 10 months ago | (#45412301)

My favorite part of Blackberry's troubles is that it will cripple the federal government. All the politicians and their lackies run around with Blackberrys sutured to their hands, texting each other in meetings and rudely breaking off in mid-conversation to answer texts because they're incredibly important people and you're not. It's not intentional of course, but Blackberry's failure will do more for productivity in Washington DC and to bring the people living in the Beltway bubble back down to earth than all the NGOs, PACs, and citizen action groups combined.

With the NSA revelations, government shutdown, plummeting approval ratings, and now Blackberry's shutdown, DC is teetering on the edge of collapse (thank god). I'm wondering what will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Student loan bubble bursting?

Re:Government (-1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 10 months ago | (#45412387)

I suspect it's going to be the amount of people turned away from voting because of all these daft ID voter rules. Turn away more than a dozen people within 5 minutes and I can see riots, especially in Florida, that'll be like dominoes. All these events keep building up to create unhappy people, and the Student Loan Bubble is going to be nasty, but it'll take that sharp focused event that'll be the camel back breaker and I really think it'll be the mass disenfranchisement of a huge % of the US citizens at the next big election. And when the UN tries to send in election monitors... Fox News will be the funniest channel to watch ever.

Re:Government (1, Offtopic)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45412505)

I suspect it's going to be the amount of people turned away from voting because of all these daft ID voter rules. .... I really think it'll be the mass disenfranchisement of a huge % of the US citizens at the next big election.

It doesn't look like there is a problem with that.

Texas voter ID law didn't suppress vote [cnn.com]

...it'll take that sharp focused event that'll be the camel back breaker ...

Maybe we've found one.

Calif. Insurance Commissioner: More Than 1M Californians Having Insurance Cancelled Due To ACA [cbslocal.com]

Forbes: White House Predicted in 2010 That 93 Million Would Lose Their Health Plans Under ObamaCare [newsbusters.org]

Troubled HealthCare.gov unlikely to work fully by end of November [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412593)

I was reading your post and was thinking, wow, this sounds familiar. Then I looked at your username and remembered why.

Re:Government (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45412815)

I do have the habit, considered unfortunate by some, of bringing facts into the discussion that others would prefer to forget, or otherwise find "inconvenient." I hope that was what you remembered.

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45414343)

of bringing facts into the discussion that others would prefer to forget, or otherwise find "inconvenient."

hahahaha your so funny considering that your posts are usually half truths at best, fallacy ridden propaganda far removed from both facts or reality - but almost always serve a right wing neocon/corporate fascist agenda. From WMD, initiation of the vietnam war, MIC expenses, role and status of US social security and healthcare, NSA industrial espionage your posts consistently demonstrate that well established facts are in the way of the shameless promotion of your agenda.

There is a good reason why most of your comments are down modded to oblivion - your a fake. Lucky for you some /. editors consider it cure to post your stories or you would be all out of Karma, whore.

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45424954)

But ACA was a heritage foundation creation, so wouldn't that make his last post atleast anti-neocon?

Re:Government (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412867)

I was reading your post and was thinking, wow, this sounds familiar. Then I looked at your username and remembered why.

Aaaah, yes. Nothing like an ad hominem response to prove you can't refute what was posted.

Hmmm, facts that voter ID laws don't suppress turnout don't fit your close-minded notions? Facts that Obamacare is the failure predicted by anyone not in the tank for Obama create cognitive dissonance in reactionary leftists?

Yeah, call the poster names.

Oh, yeah. Workforce participation is the US is now the lowest it's been since that last total Presidential failure Jimmy Carter.

Democrats - every generation has to put one in the Presidency just to find out what a dumb idea it is.

Re:Government (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 10 months ago | (#45415147)

Hmmm, facts that voter ID laws don't suppress turnout don't fit your close-minded notions?

Neither you nor the article provide any such facts. The facts merely show that the number of people who voted is greater, not that there was no increase in the percentage of legitimate voters who were turned away and gave up on voting. Any claim that the former proves the latter is a non sequitur (unless 100% of the public attempts to vote). To actually prove that suppression did not occur, you would need, at minimum:

  • The total number of votes
  • The number of people turned away who did not later come back to vote (possibly at a different polling place) even though they were legally eligible to vote

It is remarkably hard to gather that second piece of information accurately, but without it, any claims that voter suppression did not happen are nothing more than ordinary opinions with no factual support whatsoever.

Put another way, your argument based on totals is equivalent to saying that the population of the United States is increasing, so the percentage of people who die in any given year must have gone down. While the latter is probably true because people are living longer, it does not follow from the first statement. The population can also grow if more people choose to have kids, if people choose to have more kids, or if more immigrants are allowed into this country. In fact, the population could grow even if the annual death rate increases, so long as the number of additional kids exceeds the additional death rate.

Similarly, an increase in the number of voters just means that more people chose to vote. If there are a hundred voters and five are dissuaded from voting by the hassle, then 5% of voters were suppressed, but 95 people voted. If in the following election, 150 people decide to vote, but stricter laws make it more of a hassle, and fifteen are dissuaded, then 10% of voters were suppressed, but 135 people voted. We would say that voter suppression increased even though the number of total voters also increased. The two statements are not contradictory.

But to get back on topic, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the DOD and the rest of the federal government. The decline of Blackberry has been steady and consistent for the past several years. If this is coming as a surprise to them—if they have not already taken steps to encourage adoption of other platforms—then they are incredibly shortsighted, and deserve whatever pain the transition causes them.

Re:Government (3, Interesting)

cosmin_c (3381765) | about 10 months ago | (#45412417)

Obviously it'd be better to give them iPhones and Android phones so they can play Angry Birds. That will definitely increase productivity.

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413291)

I dunno. Given the hash they usually make of things, do you really want them more "productive"?

Re:Government (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#45414369)

It's not so much a matter of improving the Congresscritter's productivity as it is keeping them from "being productive." All Congressfolk should be given iPhones/Android phones with Angry Birds and told that they can't vote on any legislation until they 3 star every level. Instant Government Improvement!

Re:Government (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 10 months ago | (#45412525)

Why would productivity decrease with an iPhone or Android phone in your hand vice a Blackberry?

Re:Government (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45413465)

All the politicians and their lackies run around with Blackberrys sutured to their hands, texting each other in meetings and rudely breaking off in mid-conversation to answer texts because they're incredibly important people and you're not.

And nothing different will happen if the manufacturer of the device changes, because this has nothing at all to do with BlackBerry.

They'll just be self absorbed people with a different kind of phone.

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413931)

Get a grip. Blackberry's possible future financial difficulties have DC on the edge of collapse? What's the logic behind this?

It won't cripple the government and just the idea makes no sense.

And what's all the nonsense about politicians interrupting meals to text? A strange personal gripe?

You are probably insane and it's to Slashdot's discredit that your post gets modded to the top.

Re:Government (1)

zeroduck (691015) | about 10 months ago | (#45459451)

It's not intentional of course, but Blackberry's failure will do more for productivity in Washington DC and to bring the people living in the Beltway bubble back down to earth than all the NGOs, PACs, and citizen action groups combined.

I like to dream, too.

Surprised it took this long (2)

ddtmm (549094) | about 10 months ago | (#45412425)

I would have thought they would have had a plan a long time ago.

Re:Surprised it took this long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412707)

Indeed. It's the *military*, FFS. They should even have a plan for BlackBerry staging a communist world revolution.

Re:Surprised it took this long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45425040)

The problem is there are many plans, and many of them are counterproductive to one another. Picking the best, most cost effective, most secure way forward is complicated by the lack of devices (and OS's) designed with the specifications of the DoD in mind.

Ya they have a plan. (1)

will_die (586523) | about 10 months ago | (#45412453)

Now it only take them 2-3 years to get it implemented and approved from the security office.

Securing the supply... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412619)

... could easily be done by, oh, buying up the company for a song. From the petty cash.

But that won't happen because there's nobody lobbying the department with pork barrel reasons to do exactly that.

Re:Securing the supply... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413285)

There is THIS which shows Blackberry's lobbying, though it doesn't state exactly what the lobbying was directed toward. http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=D000028696

Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 10 months ago | (#45412629)

Implementation of the strategy centers on a "mobile device management" system to track handhelds that touch military networks so that they do not compromise military information or corrupt Defense systems.'"

Why would you even allow handhelds to "touch military networks", unless they were military-supplied handhelds?

Re:Wait, what? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 10 months ago | (#45412669)

DoD has been talking for a while about a BYOD approach. Not sure if that's what they mean here, but it's possible.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

UneducatedSixpack (2829861) | about 10 months ago | (#45415625)

Glad military are not talking about BYOG. Imagine if you are military pilot and have to have your own F-16.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45425108)

I hear POCE is the current way forward.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412725)

It's called COTS. And in most such cases, there's going to be an approval process in between. e.g. "this device meets our security requirements".

Also, any device being talked about here is going to be limited to unclassified data. Type I equipment (such as Sectera Edge) is a whole other ballgame.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412729)

How else are you going to play facebook games while sitting in your silo? Those phones cant reach the cell towers under 20 feet of concrete.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 10 months ago | (#45415499)

Just leave the blast doors cracked open, seriously improves the signal.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413107)

Why wouldn't you trust RIM/Blackberry with military contracts? Their logo's a hail of bullets!

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413395)

Even Obamas Blackberry is not stock. It has upgraded security done by General Dynamics.

Build their own system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412811)

I know it will probably cost too much money or some other BS but why don't they just build their own system. Doesn't the military have lots of software/hardware engineers?

Re:Build their own system? (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45413099)

because there is no reason to reinvent the wheel

a lot cheaper to buy iphone or android and pay someone to code your internal apps

Same Thing in My Realm of the US Gov. (1)

CMYKjunkie (1594319) | about 10 months ago | (#45413013)

In my little rear-end of the US Government (agency of less than 1500 employees) we have been on BlackBerry since 2003. Moving to iPhone over the course of this year with the troubled waters of BB. I won't shed a tear. Our IT folks have stuck with BB 7 devices and the attachment handling stinks, web browsing is horrible, and I hate the keypads versus touchscreen keypads.

Re:Same Thing in My Realm of the US Gov. (3, Informative)

hawkbat05 (1952326) | about 10 months ago | (#45413317)

There are a lot of people who still prefer real keyboards. I've used several different BlackBerry's (including a new Q10) as well as several Android devices (Xperia X10, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4). Even with all the neat third party keyboards available on Android, I haven't yet found one that let's me type as fast as my Q10. This is why the Torch owners seem to like their devices so much.

Re:Same Thing in My Realm of the US Gov. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416425)

I've used several different BlackBerry's

Yes, greengrocers are well acquainted with blackberries... and blueberries, and cherries, and lettuce, and potatos, and squash...

Re:Same Thing in My Realm of the US Gov. (1)

faedle (114018) | about 10 months ago | (#45417337)

I've told the IT department where I work they can have my Blackberry Bold when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

Re:Same Thing in My Realm of the US Gov. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45416525)

>Our IT folks have stuck with BB 7 devices

Yes, android sucks because Froyo has so few features and handles everything terribly.

Are you also driving to work in a Corvair?

Possible outcomes (1)

Wintermancer (134128) | about 10 months ago | (#45413429)

I was talking with a colleague who works in the defence communications security intelligence field this summer regarding the possible end-game for BlackBerry.

Currently, for US and Canadian government BlackBerry's, they do a scheduled production run in the US (all chips, semiconductors, etc. are produced in known secured facilities to ensure end-to-end security is maintained).

They could just do the same with either the iPhone or Android devices. Code review all software, microcode, crypto algorithms, etc. to ensure that security requirements are met and no foreign actors are slipping in anything unwanted. Alternately, they could just buy the rights to produce the BlackBerry in perpetuity.

It should work until someone jailbreaks and roots their phone to run Angry Birds, Candy Crush or other "productivity" apps.

I'm doing the I told you so dance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413943)

Man, this is been a fun ride. I remember being laughed at when I was telling people that BB sucked and the iphone/android/whatever was going to wipe them out.. Five years ago.

  "BB is for serious buisness!" "They will always have govt customers!"

What a load of horse shit :) You know who you all are, and I'm laughing at you right now. It should have been obvious that BB was fucking done the first time you picked up the orginal BB storm. (GOD that was a piece of shit. I've never used a device so useless) It's been downhill since then.

Snowden Leaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413945)

So I've been looking over the snowden leaks( I could of missed them and I'm aware of there BIS arrangement with Saudi Arabia and India and was dissapointed) and didn't see Blackberry on them, you know for all the discussion on /. about this kinda stuff you think this would be a talking point for the security minded folk around here.

Uncertain? (4, Insightful)

eek_the_kat (249620) | about 10 months ago | (#45416445)

Uncertain future? I think Blackberry's future is anything but uncertain.

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