In an important move aimed at advancing the Defense Department’s use of commercially-available mobile devices and services, the Defense Information System Agency announced it is seeking proposals to provide the U.S. Military with mobile device management capabilities and a dedicated mobile application store.

The announcement took the form of a request for proposals (RFP) posted to the federal government procurement website,

“The DISA MDM/MAS RFP is the biggest mobile procurement event in the smartphone era,” said Tom Suder president of MobileGov, who is an active participant in federal mobility working groups (and a member of Breaking Gov’s board of contributors.)

“Virtually any provider to the US Military from hardware providers to software developers will have a stake in this RFP either initially or post-award,” he said.

Mobile device management systems provide systematic policy, security and permissions rules that define the functions users are allowed to conduct on their mobile devices.

The Mobile Device Management MDM) capability that DISA is seeking should serve at the application and the user level as a “traffic cop, to enforce policy for network and end devices,” according to provisions spelled out in the RFP. “This capability ensures the security of the entire user community is not compromised by an incorrectly configured device.”

The RFP effectively starts the procurement process for creating a secure, mobile wireless system that manages the use of smartphones, mobile devices and related software applications to be used by military and Defense Department civilian personnel around the globe.

It also sets out to establish a unified architecture that secures, monitors, manages, and supports accredited mobile devices across a range of DoD environments. That makes it easier toadminister services that detect malware and remotely control devices that might be compromised.

MDM also supports over-the-air electronic distribution of software applications, the ability to remotely wipe devices of data and configure devices.