Home' Defense Systems : January and February 2013 Contents C4ISR
BY TERRY COSTLOW
e drive to make smart phones and
tablets a viable communication tool
for war ghters in the eld is moving
forward at a rapid pace. A variety of
government agencies are funding devel-
opment programs, while suppliers are
racing to provide the tools needed to
help make apps readily available.
Apps bring many bene ts, giving
users an easy way to get so ware that
meets their speci c requirements. Apps
also leverage the rapid technological
advances of smart phones and tablets,
which o er lower costs in addition to
their computing capabilities. ese fac-
tors are among many that have brought
widespread support for the e ort to
make apps a common tool for war ght-
"What the Defense Department and
the intelligence community needs is an
app store," GEN Keith Alexander, the
National Security Agency's director,
said at the GEOINT 2012 conference.
"What we have to do is create apps for
the cloud, put them up there, verify that
the apps work as intended, and then let
the analysts and people choose the apps
that they want."
e National Geospatial-Intelligence
Agency (NGA) is among the organiza-
tions that are pressing to make apps
available to those in the eld. At GEO-
INT 2012, NGA Director Letitia Long
cited progress in the agency's e orts to
stock an app store.
"At this point we have about 150 apps
in our apps store," Long said. at's a 50
percent increase over a year ago. As the
program expands further, the focus will
shi to apps developed by outsiders.
NGA sta ers developed 80 percent of
the existing apps, Long added.
Long said that by next July, she would
like to see 75 percent of those apps com-
ing from others. at will free up NGA
personnel to work on "that exquisite
GEOINT" while also leveraging the
creativity and innovation that industry
can bring, she added.
INDUSTRY DEVELOPS APPS
Companies throughout the supply
chain are working to provide govern-
ment agencies with creative and innova-
tive so ware. Many are developing apps
and the infrastructure needed to sup-
port app stores. Others are partnering
with app developers to help program-
mers quickly create so ware that ac-
cesses large, complex databases in elds
such as satellite imagery.
"A lot of what we do is to provide
so ware for embedded app developers.
at makes it easier for them to write
apps that work with our data," said Ben
Conklin, product engineer at Redlands,
Calif.-based Esri. "Most of these pro-
grams are still in R&D, some are going
through eld trials."
roughout the industry, equipment
suppliers are racing to make apps useful
in the eld. Harris recently rolled out
KnightLite, a backpack-sized tactical
cellular network solution that enables
the use of smart apps in the battle eld.
KnightLite can run apps and it is com-
patible with smart phones and tablets,
so apps on these handhelds can be inte-
grated into the network.
Raytheon recently upgraded its Ray-
theon Advanced Tactical System, which
leverages the Android portables to give
war ghters in the eld access to intelli-
gence, surveillance and reconnaissance
and geospatial visualization data. Ray-
theon has also developed an app store
called Appsmart, which is being used
by the Army to develop a service so it
can distribute apps written by military
personnel and outsiders.
e Army's prototype system may be
integrated into a larger program being
developed by the Defense Information
Systems Agency (DISA). In October,
DISA opened a solicitation for the De-
partment of Defense Mobility, Mobile
Device Management-Mobile Applica-
e device management system will
start with around 260,000 devices that
use an architecture that could eventu-
ally be expanded to include all DOD
personnel. DISA's app store request re-
quires extensive security requirements,
including the ability to wipe a device
that's been lost or becomes untrust-
22 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | DefenseSystems.com
Apps for geospatial intelligence
facilitate mobile, tactical tools
GEOINT MOBILE APPS
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
director Letitia Long is bullish about the
role apps can play, giving war ghters easy
access to data.
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