The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week plans to acquires as many as 100,000 tablets, primarily for use by their medical clinicians staff, marking one of the largest such deployments by a civilian agency, according to a bulletin on the government's Federal Business Opportunities website. The VA is also seeking vendors to help them secure the devices.
The VA plans to deploy a number of different kinds of tablets, including the iPad, as well as tablets running Android and Windows operating systems. Interestingly, since Apple iOS and Android do not currently support the federal FIPS 140-2 security encryption, the VA is also now soliciting mobile device management (MDM) vendors to control security for the devices via a cloud computing solution.
The notice on the Federal Business Opportunities site reads: "The purpose of this Request for Information is to search for qualified vendors capable of meeting the Department of Veterans Affairs requirement to provide a National Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solution." The response date deadline of the solicitation, which was just posted last week, is on the 28th.
This news comes after the VA announced in July that it would add iPhone and Android smartphone support to the agency starting October 1st. VA CIO Roger Baker spoke on similar security issues at that time, saying: “We will be highly confident that anything that is storing information on the device has encryption, and in all of the cases we’ll be satisfied that the authenticated user is able to view information but not download it on to the device."
For more on the planned deployment, read the NextGov.com report here.