Apple, Samsung devices said to be near Pentagon security OK

It's looking like the drawn-out vetting process to accept new tech devices for use by Department of Defense employees is soon coming to a close.

Samsung Galaxy smartphones and Apple's iPhones and iPads may soon get security approval by the Pentagon. Josh Miller/CNET

Both Apple and Samsung have been in ongoing talks with the Department of Defense to bring their devices to the agency's employees, and now it looks like approval for device security is finally around the corner.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Defense Department reportedly plans to give security approval for Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and Apple's iPhones and iPads within the next few weeks.

The Defense Information Systems Agency, which rules what commercial technology the Pentagon can use, will decide within the next two weeks whether to accept Samsung's Galaxy smartphones loaded with Knox security software for sending and receiving internal e-mails, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Separately, the agency also plans to decide in early May whether Apple's iOS 6 security is safe enough to be used by military agencies for non-classified communication.

The Department of Defense dropped its exclusive contract for BlackBerry devices last October, which opened up bidding to Apple, Samsung, and any other tech company.

Despite the agency opening up contracts to other companies, the Pentagon has confirmed that it isn't completely dropping BlackBerry. Currently, of the more than 600,000 mobile devices used by the department, 470,000 are BlackBerry, 41,000 are Apple products, and 8,700 are running on Google Android.

The department has said that eventually it wants to handle as many as 8 million devices. And, any company that can meet its strict classified security guidelines can try to get a piece of the department's profitable government contract.

According to the Wall Street Journal, BlackBerry devices still dominate the U.S. government market -- so, even if Apple and Samsung do get security approval, it doesn't necessarily mean immediate contracts for hundreds of thousands of devices.

Approvals "do not directly result in product orders, but facilitate the process by eliminating the need for security reviews at the individual DOD organization level," a Defense Department spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

 

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