Pentagon Now Offering Top Officials Classified Tablets

Air National Guard photo by Airman Michelle J. Ulber

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The Defense Department's pilot program allows access to materials up to secret level.

Top Pentagon officials can now access classified documents and correspondence on tablet computers under a pilot program, the Defense Department said Tuesday.

The pilot program, which includes 24 top officials so far, expands on an earlier DOD program that allowed top officials to receive and access classified documents and communications on smartphones.

Pentagon officials could also discuss classified information on the phones if their correspondent was on a similarly classified device.

The phones are available at both the secret and top-secret classification levels while the tablets are only cleared for secret communications so far.

“We’re bringing the mobile device from something you use mostly to consume information…to being able to actually do work on the device,” DOD Mobility Portfolio manager Jake Marcellus said in a statement.

The tablets also offer better video quality, DOD said, including the ability to watch live video feeds collected for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes.

The department did not say whether the tablets were developed entirely in house or with the help of commercial partners. 

The first classified tablet in the pilot went to acting DOD Chief Information Officer John Zangardi in mid-May, DOD said. Former DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen was a user and advocate for the department’s classified phone program. 

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