Wheeler: DoD must adapt to pace of mobile technology


The Defense Department needs to be able to change more quickly if it's going to keep up pace with mobile development, said Robert Wheeler, a deputy chief information officer at DoD, at a recent event in Washington, D.C.

DoD's acquisition programs are currently not known for their speed, Wheeler said Oct. 25 at the Security Innovation Network's conference, according to a DoD release. But when the department opens its mobile application store, it will require that submissions to the store be approved, disapproved or returned for revision within 90 days.

The store will be "useless" if the process takes much longer than that, and "even 90 days is probably a little too long," Wheeler said.

At the same time, the department must not change so quickly that it neglects cybersecurity, which Wheeler emphasized must be built in from the start, not worked in during use.

Wheeler also touched on the department's plans to develop the electromagnetic spectrum used for communications, the scarcity of which may be a barrier to mobile development. But he voiced optimism that scarcity would lead to innovation.

For now though, in its approach to the spectrum crunch, Wheeler said DoD is focusing more on ways to share frequencies when one user doesn't use it to full capacity. That's a shift from just clearing space to auction off.

For the long term, DoD is exploring a potential national spectrum research facility, Wheeler added. That facility will diagnose spectrum conflicts and identify spectrum-sharing opportunities.

At another conference earlier in October, Wheeler said the facility "basically looks like a small city, if you will, that's actually set up to test where spectrum can work and how we can connect up and where the problems are going to be and how we can explore this true sharing."

For more:
- go to the DoD release
- go to the Security Innovation Network conference webpage

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