The United States Department of Defence (DOD) is rethinking its dependence on Blackberry smartphones amid growing uncertainty surrounding the telecommunications company.
Over 470,000 handsets are owned by the DOD, making it one of Blackberry's largest customers. Recently, however, the Canadian smartphone manufacturer has been facing concerns about its future.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins was reportedly forced to quit last week following a failed buyout bid from its main backers, Fairfax Financial Holdings. Now, after "a thorough review of strategic alternatives," the company has announced it will be raising money by selling debentures, or convertible debt to its shareholders.
Within the DOD's internal networks, Blackberry devices are currently the only ones with "authority to operate". In light of beleaguered company's current instability, the DOD are now working on a new system that will allow numerous handsets and devices to be secured on the networks, including iPhones, iPads and Samsung smartphones.
It was revealed last week that a strategy devised in 2012 did not favour any single device maker. Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesperson, said: "This multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach minimizes the impact of (a) single vendor to our current operations."
According to Pickart, the system to control mobile security focuses on recognising devices that come into contact with defence networks and managing them in such a way that sensitive information is not compromised.
"DoD's mobility strategy and commercial mobile device implementation plan includes reliance on multiple vendors to support its mobile communications needs," Pickart said.
The first tests of this new system will take place before the end of the year and if initial pilots are successful then the Pentagon predicts over 300,000 government-approved devices will be connected by 2016.