Top military officials are finally getting a chance to see first hand how tablet computers and smartphones other than their trusted BlackBerrys might work in the line of duty.

As part of previously undisclosed program, 200 mobile devices – including iPads, iPhones, Samsung Galaxy tablets and smartphones – have been issued to senior military personnel: 100 to top leadership in the Pentagon and another 100 to key staff at major commands such as Army Cyber Command and the Training and Doctrine Command. Keep reading →

The new computing generation has burst on the federal scene in a big way. The latest manifestation is solicitations coming from two cabinet agencies.

But they remind me of a scene many years ago. I spoke at the retirement party of a federal executive who had briefly worked on a program called seat management. I joked that more people were attending the party than had signed up for seat management, and got a roar of laughter.

“Seat”, as people called it, meant a contractor would supply to federal agencies a PC and all of the required software and services, charging a per-user, per-month fee.

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Seat management, touted as the biggest thing since computers, went over like a lead balloon. But it turns out, the concept might have simply been ahead of its time.

Today, agencies one by one are putting their productivity applications in the cloud. Separately, they are providing mobile devices or letting employees bring their own under BYOD plans.

Marry cloud and BYOD and you have the 21st century version of seat management. The difference today is the seat can be in someone’s car or kitchen, at the beach or in an airplane.

About those two new request proposals demonstrating what is going on: Keep reading →

On May 1, 2010, when al-Qaeda sympathizer Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device hidden in a parked car in the middle of New York’s Times Square, first responders had to rely on their knowledge of evacuation guidelines that for decades have only been accessible via bulky, hardcopy binders.

Although Shahzad’s bomb failed to detonate, the lessons from the response to that potentially deadly attack were not lost on the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate (S&T). Keep reading →

The Department of Veterans Affairs is turning iPad technology into a potent tool to help caregivers track medical care for veterans that could become the road map for how to provide mobile services across the federal government.

The iPad pilot goes live Sept. 1 with a plan to loan 1,000 Apple Inc.’s iPads to caregivers keeping watch over medical needs for veterans injured while serving after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Keep reading →