BlackBerry Awarded "Authority to Operate" on U.S. Department of Defense Networks

By Adam Zeis on 8 Aug 2013 08:23 am EDT

Digging ever so deep into the acronym bucket, BlackBerry has announced today that the US Defense Information System Agency (DISA) has given both the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 the Authority to Operate (ATO) on the Department of Defense (DoD) networks, making BlackBerry the first Mobile Device Management (MDM) to obtain an ATO. With the ATO, the DISA is prepping to support 10,000 BB10 devices by the fall and over 30,000 but the end of 2013. 

This is a great display of just how secure BlackBerry 10 devices are and a huge move by the DoD. The ATO will serve employees by allowing them to use BlackBerry 10 devices to connect to secure networks and access assets from their devices as needed. 

Press Release

BlackBerry Awarded "Authority to Operate" on U.S. Department of Defense Networks

DISA deploying BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 to support BlackBerry 10 smartphones on DoD networks

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - August 08, 2013) - BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX: BB) today announced the U.S. Defense Information System Agency (DISA) has given BlackBerry® Z10 and BlackBerry® Q10 smartphones with BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10, the Authority to Operate (ATO) on Department of Defense (DoD) networks. BlackBerry is the first Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider to obtain an ATO.

With the ATO, DISA is now developing the infrastructure to support BlackBerry 10 smartphones. DISA is architecting the capacity to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by this fall and 30,000 by the end of 2013 on DoD networks.

"Being the first smartphones to be supported on U.S. Department of Defense networks further establishes BlackBerry's proven and validated security model," said Scott Totzke, SVP, BlackBerry Security Group at BlackBerry. "With foreign entities - governmental and criminal - ramping up attacks on electronic communications and information systems, BlackBerry provides government agencies with a proven partner that follows top-to-bottom security protocols."

Receiving the ATO is a critical step forward in the security certification process. The approval demonstrates that BlackBerry 10 smartphones meet DoD's most stringent security requirements. BlackBerry 10 smartphones will enable DoD personnel to have the ability to securely connect to networks and access assets from work. The BlackBerry mobile infrastructure provides a highly responsive, intelligent and intuitive mobile computing experience while ensuring the personal and the corporate information on a user's phone are kept separate and safe.

For more information about BlackBerry 10, please visit:


Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry Awarded "Authority to Operate" on U.S. Department of Defense Networks



A lady died using an after market iPhone charger.........when she tried to use her iPhone she died of shock.....

Sexy White BlackBerry Z10

I wondered that too, I had to read the press release. "Being the first smartphones to be supported on U.S. Department of Defense networks further establishes BlackBerry's proven and validated security model," said Scott Totzke, SVP, BlackBerry Security Group at BlackBerry."

Posted via CB10

It says BlackBerry 10 is the first smart phone used... so unless iPhones are dumb phones I would say no... I wonder what they used before now (?)


No, iPhone OS6 was given FIPS 140-2 approval in May, which is the MINIMUM requirement for use by many agencies, contractors and companies, but DOES NOT allow them to be used on their secure networks nor have data on them, which the BBs ARE allowed. iPhones and the S3 are allowed for communication only, no data. IPhones are now allowed at our facility but not allowed on our networks either, as stipulated by two DoD contractors we work with.

No it does not. An ATO allows whatever has received the ATO (device, system, etc.) the ability to be connected to the DoD network and run on the DoD Global Information Grid (GIG). Apple devices are authorized for use in the DoD, and they must be secured according to DISA standards, however they may only be connected to a stand-alone machine (one that is not attached to the DoD GIG) to receive data and updates and the browser is not authorized for use so it's basically a rock. The BB mobile device has long been allowed to connect to the DoD GIG and has received ATOs in the past, but this article is strictly talking about the Q10. Each software version must receive an ATO in order to be attached to the DoD network. The PB has also received an ATO and DISA has published security standards for it as well. The secret is the BB Enterprise Server which each agency (Army, AF, Navy, Marines, CG, etc.) configures to operate and has control over who has access to the server and who manages the server. Apple simply won't allow anyone access to their servers so until they do, Apple (or Google) will never receive an ATO that allows them to connect to the GIG.

Agreed. In allied governments these days, interoperability is key, and the best way to assure that is to have a homogenous environment. It's why NATO has so many standards.

And keep in mind that the U.S gov't user over 3 million smartphones. Great first step in a bright future!

Posted via CB10

30,000 might be a drop in the bucket, but it boils down to advertising. And this is amazing advertising for BlackBerry as the most secure smartphone and network

I would chose a purchase of one single BlackBerry made by the most influential person in the world, to millions of phone endorsed by 'd' list celebs.

In my opinion the usa dod IS that influential person

BlackBerry is a small snowball rolling down an enormous will take time, but they will grow and grow

Posted via CB10

DoD using 470,000 blackberries.

It will take a while for all of them to be replaced. Bb7 isn't even 2 years old

30,000 in the remaining months of this year. Hopefully another couple hundred thousand phones next year.

Posted via CB10

Seems like BlackBerry is the way they wanna go so I would say we can expect a couple hundred thousand more will be on the way


Not really news.. :-)

We already knew that BlackBerry is the most secure platform to do REAL work on!


Posted via CB10

I thought the dod had dropped blackberry and going all I phones or was that another area of the us government?

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When you say communication... what do you mean? Is it just phone calls and text? Because emails and browsing use data!!!

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Not sure if you're trolling or not but it means that they couldn't have company mails on them or any company data. Phone calls and texting but mails and such require higher security the BB10

That's very good news I wonder if they will also be implementing the Z30 there as well...

Posted via CB10

I also wonder if DOD will use BES10 to manage iOS and Android devices.
If it does then hopefully other companies in the US will follow.
This could be the beginning of a high margin revenue stream if it takes off and a sign that BlackBerry has finally turned the ship around.

Some DoD agencies use other MDM products, such as Good and MobileIron. It will take some time to ramp up the BB10 devices as the agencies will need to keep their BES 5 in place to manage the pre-BB10 devices. I am not sure at this point if the other MDM products can manage BB10 devices yet, will have to research.

No it cannot. It requires the BES5 to also be installed.

If RIM thought about this rollout before even using Fusión this would not be required.

Posted via CB10

That is great news! Now even five star generals and members of the Join Chiefs Of Staff will be able to keep their porn separate from their invasion plans by using BlackBerry Balance!!!! General McCrystal used an iPhone and we all saw what happened to him!

Seriously, BlackBerry has to spin this..."Do you want to conduct a drone strike and drop a hellfire missile while sipping your favourite coffee at your neighbourhood Starbucks? Do it on the awesome BlackBerry Z10 or Q10! Or assassinate from the comfort of your own home! Keep Moving! ". LOL...or something along those lines...

Posted via CB10

Lol. I like that!

Scott Totzke, the right man with the right skills in the right position!

Moving in the right direction.

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I completely agree with this approach in a viral series of YouTube ads. Something funny that will get people's attention.

Like some people here said, it will just trigger other places to start placing their orders and BES maybe their new best source of income after dropping BIS.

Posted via CB10

Ya....but... BlackBerry is dead. BlackBerry won't be around in two years. This is too little too late. Samsung has Knox. Broken promises...sinking ship... PlayBook... Hein's has to go... this phone still won't make me toast...yada yada.

Z10 STL100-3 | | Bell

That was a dumb remark. Do you think the DoD would choose BlackBerry knowing it will die in 2 years?

Think again!

Posted via CB10

I noted the sarcasm was about the toast remark. My bad if wasn't about that but not if it was!

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If anything, the DOD will keep BB alive. I've watched some agencies roll out BB Curves to their personnel just 1 1/2 years ago. They'll keep using them until they rot.

I must admit i missed the sarcasm tag there, was about to pounce on you, you know.. LOL

Posted via my Zexy Z10, raaawrrr

If Knox was it it would be done already. Android is too fragmented and it uses multiple phone manufacturers which in itself is a major security risk. Sorry you are wrong here.

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

Samsung has Knox, which is a bandaid security kernel not native to the OS,and still having such issues that its still not allowed in many agencies, which is not true with BB. Also, Only BBs are currently allowed on secure networks at this time, no Samsungs. They are allowed for communication purposes only, no data.

And the key to the ATO cert is BES. Transmissions encrypted both ways. Doesn't allow man-in-the-middle attacks. BES finally getting its due.

30000 * $100 / year = $3M / year
30000 * $600 / phone = $18M

Not bad at all!! I wonder if THE VERGE and BGR will report this news??

30,000 phones this year, 100,000 next year..

Posted via CB10

I'm glad someone else picked up on that too. Basic math and it adds up nice for this year.
The Verge will report on it at some point today, BGR will take a couple more days probably because they have to figure out how to put a bad spin on it lol

Your math is incorrect.
$600 phone is what the retailer (carrier) charges. BB charges probably around $300-400 per device.

but yeah, still good! go BB!

$100 a year for what? CALs will be upgraded from existing BES5 CALs for free. They will become free perpetual CALs by the end of this year. As for devices, BlackBerry likely already sold these into the carrier channels ($30,000 isnt that much over 4 months). You wont see any noticeable bump in revenue from this initial rollout.

So, BlackBerry 10 phones will be free forever on BES10? BlackBerry makes money on hardware only 1x. Then other phones connected using secure workspace are $100 annually? So this should provide cost incentive to use BB10 phones in corporate? And if not we will make money on your annual CAL.?

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

It's good to see positive BlackBerry news for once!

Verizon Z10. Running Posted via CB10

NSA software has been fully tested on the Z10 and Q10 and data extraction has the utmost integrity. APPROVED!

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I am not surprised. The BlackBerry has always been associated with professionals and security =). Loving my Q10 more and more every day!


Good news is always welcome. DoD qualifying BlackBerry and committing to an initial run (all be it small) of BlackBerry 10 devices is an excellent vote of confidence. This should have a ripple effect

Swipe, swipe it good...via CB10 from my Z10

Good news. Now all BlackBerry has to do is start marketing their products in the US.

SILENCE!!! For I have spoken...

Crackberry MUST have more stories like this to allay the fears of some who are hesitant to buy a BlackBerry because they think that BlackBerry is going to be gone soon. I, and I'm sure others, have read it in the forums far too often. Hell, I was on BGR last night and Android and iOS users were commenting on the Z30, "Nice phone, but too bad it's on a dead platform."
Yeah, that's why the DoD has thousands upon thousands of them....because they can't wait until BlackBerry goes out of business and they have to replace their entire communications network.

Posted via CB10

You don't want to know what robot fan boys say on anything BlackBerry related news in my country. Last spin I heard they said BlackBerry will be bought by Android (not Google, but by Android, by the end of this year). Wtf.

And no, I didn't read that from Internet. A friend of mine who is not familiar with tech forums/site told me that this afternoon. She heard it from her android user friend. Wtf.

Posted via CB10

The problem was, she bought it *facepalm* it took almost half an hour of explaining to her of what is going on before she could realize that it was wrong.

Posted via CB10

All joking aside I agree with you. There's a lot of misinformation being passed around by some people knowingly and some unknowingly.

I find myself correcting people a lot because they're just not educated well enough about the company and the transition that's evolving. It's a shame, really.

BB up premarket a lousy 3 cents.I wonder if the bounce they had 2 days ago was because of this .could be an insider trade which occurred then.

No, it was a Barrons article about "chatter" that Q10 sales were good. However, Pacific Crest, which was rightly a bear on the last earnings, says Q10s only APPEAR to be selling because of de-stocking. It will be interesting to hear what Thorsten has to say....oh wait....almost forgot his credibility is zero...nevermind

Posted via CB10

It would be as secure as any other device on the market. Use device password, use encryption, but any emails you send will not be encrypted. Sorry to say that but it is a fact.

I will start work on a remote control drone app right away.

You could take out a terrorist while waiting for the dentist!

Posted via CB10

This is great news for BlackBerry. Are there news headlines highlighting this? Of course not. Instead, the top blackberry news is about the 3 executives leaving and that Blackberry slipped to 4th place in global smartphones.
Investors are fickle and look at the news to make stock purchases. It's an uphill battle for BlackBerry with negative press to deal with however in the end they will prevail. Keep moving BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

So when will the US defense be able to hack all BlackBerry devices........
Oh wait right now.

Fk cell phones, Fk home phones, I am going back to the old days of paper and burn them on opening it and receiver too will burn the paper on getting it.

We live in a world of no privacy now and we are just a bunch of lab rats for the government to test and track what we do, where we go and who we talk to and for how long we do so.

So i say to you ppl it's time to say Fk it all and go back to the old days and only deliver the paper by hand or he someone you trust to deliver it as the USPS and any other mail service in the World Is Just as snoopy as the government Controls this too.

Back to the days of privacy for me.

Posted via CB10

How about the security for using Apps. Many apps including crap apps which need security permission to run. Those usually ask for sharing our files, device ID, connecting BBM, contacts......
I just don't feel secure.

Posted via CB10

Great news and there will be more rounds of purchases for BlackBerry 10 devices. I expect to see move governments follow suit. Keep it moving BlackBerry.

CB10- BlackBerry Z10

There you have it, When BlackBerry gets a concrete deal the stock almost drops know it's up now but market moving sideways. When there's unconfirmed roumers of Samsung almost having a deal the stock plungers...

I remember reading this article just a while back -

It's one thing that Blackberry is 10 times as huge as Apple when it comes to Dod. Another thing is that BES MDM supports all platforms and with Berry already in the door who are you gonna choose, We've heard some storries about companies only supporting Android Apple on their MDM but such strategies should make Berry a given for DoD and other appartments

Maybe the rest of the federal government can learn from this. With the Nsa, and cyber attacks going on.

BlackBerry for leaders, not followers.

Excellent! Now BlackBerry you understand how critical this is, right?!? Two things: 10.2 *MUST* be fully baked and out soon so that DOD employees will get BB10 devices for their families and be zealous about recommending them to others. Secondly, squeeze every drop of marketing juice out of this!

Posted via CB10 with *Z* BEST!

BlackBerry with strongest security and the smartest keyboard (both Q10 and Z10) is the way to go! Great news :) Does it mean that all the 470,000 existing BB7 devices end up being replaced by BB10 devices? To my understanding, only 40,000 will be replaced by the end of this year. If all of them will be BB10 than other phones, BlackBerry rocks :)

Posted via CB10

There we go. Now the momentum is building towards carrying the end of this year as BBM, Z30, etc. come out near October. Hopefully marketing campaign will be in place by then.

Very impressive. Great News for BlackBerry. I have been a BlackBerry user for 9 years. I an disappointed that the PlayBook is not in BlackBerry plans. The new iPhone coming out looks interesting. We will see I guess.

I'm kinda stupid in thus arena. But this is round two of security clearance. A whole new gamut.

Posted via CB10

Year As I'm sure you noticed from your own link, back in may Apple decided to show up late for the initial party since Berry and droid were already in... Maybe they just give jack shit about security

But ... but ... but ... you can't play Candy Crush on the BlackBerry. Or Instagram. So it has to be garbage ...

Posted via CB10

Some great news. Let's hope the trend continues and people who care about the security of their companies return to the B!!

Wonderful news for all BlackBerry users and the company itself. Looks like we are heading in the right direction!

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Yes! this is what I always tell people "blackberry security is no1" if US can do what they did that tells me more about the security of the BlackBerry.

Attack on titan! O wait...wrong acronym yep too much time reading the Manga :D

Anyways great news for BlackBerry!

Posted via CB10

It's good news, but still won't help the slow sales in the enterprise... Enterprise is still buying more "legacy" devices than BB10s

Watch out now!! They are touching the American soil in a big way. Samsung and Apple better be watching.

They are going to learn today...

Posted via CB10

They sure are lol. Hopefully they pick up momentum in the u.s. Purposely went to a store n told them I wanted to sell my Z10 to see how much they would give me out of curiosity and the guy said 160. Must be crazy. He said nobody buys blackberries anymore. I asked him have you even used the phone he said he knows about it with hesitation lol. Pathetic. There's also a crowd of ppl who want to return to BlackBerry but are scared of having to do battery pulls again lol. I try to tell them it's two different operating systems from the older phones. This is all in New York. There's a lot of mis understanding and bad deception over here

Posted via CB10

This goes along the line of the US govt stating it would not allow the sale or takeover of BlackBerry due to security reasons. Ie, this further proves that the US govt wants a mobile platform that is secure, while it wants the general public to use iphone and android devices to support their "big brother approach". Enjoy being watch on your own device without your permission.

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

It was the Canadian government that talked about this I believe. BlackBerry is not a US company.

Posted via CB10

The media seems so quiet about this news. I remembered AP/Wallstreet Jurnal and many more medium pumping all week long about Samsung is going to sign a contract with the US government and put BlackBerry in shame. These medium are so bias toward BlackBerry.

Another ringing endorsement for the power, usability and security of our phones. Well done RIM...Errr, I mean Blackberry!!

Should result in Q10 sales and BES10 services for fees to other gov't dep'ts, other gov'ts, and highly secretive and security conscious enterprises like DOD contractors and oil and gas companies.

Little by little people will start to see just how good these phones are. BlackBerry's work speaks for itself, I think so anyway... and so does the DoD apparently.

yea, but another company is dropping 1000 BB10 devices... so this means BB is going to close the doors overnight.

Perhaps BlackBerry must staff advertising this fact... at least on YouTube.
If it was for iPhone, then every third person in the world would know about it :P
Cmon BlackBerry tell this to people and spread the good news.... which CrackBerry is doing it... we want BlackBerry to become big.

Posted via the awesome z10 using CB10

When was the last time you saw an Apple iPhone commercial touting it's Enterprise features or the fact it's FIPS certified, just like the BB10... That's right. Zero. There are none. For BlackBerry to come out and advertise this irrelevant fact to consumers would come off as desperate.

Not every business cares or needs FIPS certification or DOD approval. Most want a solid device that has the apps they need. That's all. Just another thing for fanboys to get a hard-on over...

An aside during an ad might mention that BB10 is the most secure phone in the world. Hardly desperation. Just fact. In these days of NSA activities, BBM might make it a little bit harder for the snoops.

Maybe, I'm missing something, but I read that the BB 10 devices got approval and that the BES 10 infrastructure is being updated to support up to 10,000 devices this fall and 30,000 before the end of the year. I don't think they are saying that the department will purchase 10,000 or 30,000 devices, just the capacity to support those amounts before the end of the year? I don't think the Department placed an order for these devices, just clearance to utilize the devices. Other devices from other platforms may get clearance as well as older devices maybe cleared already, so it doesn't mean the entire department will be transitioning to BB 10 devices exclusively. So, I don't think you can assume 30,000 BB10 devices sold.

"With the ATO, DISA is now developing the infrastructure to support BlackBerry 10 smartphones. DISA is architecting the capacity to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by this fall and 30,000 by the end of 2013 on DoD networks."

This is good news obviously. Kudos to BlackBerry. But when I read articles like this, I can't help but think if this makes BlackBerry a greater M&A target by Apple, given BlackBerry's low stock price also.

Let's face it, Apple probably isn't too happy with their market share falling behind android devices. Snapping up BlackBerry and leveraging the expertise on both sides of the border would seriously equip Apple with the security and access to the corporate market that BlackBerry still dominates. I don't know if this will ever happen but imagine the possibilities. Makes for interesting discussion.

Good news but the release may not generate a lot of media buzz. Had it said "Did begins ordering BlackBerry 10 phones" or something like that, it might actually grab the media's attention. This release reads like it was written by an engineer, not someone in marketing / communications.

Posted via CB10

We need more awesome news like this. Great work BlackBerry, most secure mobile platform on the planet to date.
I also heard the German Government went all out BlackBerry 10 and BES10 with an approx: order of 40,000 Q10's and several more coming at a later date. Though this news was way back in March 2013 with Germany's head holding up a Q10 via the news media.

All of the acronyms must've broke somethng in the side of my brain! Ouch!

Yep, wifie mentioned something to me on this order about the sector of US gov she works for. Looks like decisions were being made and annoucements were/are forthcoming. I suspect that if the BB10 devices get out there, particularly in this sector, we'll see a progression in marketing, especially in the product placements (TV & movies). There BB10 products will be on display to millions of movie goers around the globe to see.

BB has a quite an arsenal and a lot of firepower (for a company of it's size and place in history) and they will market with a "sniper-like" precision (pick & choose your targets) and not of spray money around and hope for the best. This smartphone war is just heating up and my money is on BB!

Go BB!

Hahah, in your faces. They've always been top dog in security. I'm glad till this day, they remain so. Good job BB.

Great news. I wonder if this would prompt civilian contractors working for DOD to use BlackBerry?

Posted via CB10

Not that this is confirmed maybe Magpul will start making cases for the Z10!

If anyone wants to email them and ask I would appreciate it. I want one bad!

Posted via CB10

I really hope to see more of this BB10 enterprise and government uptake. So far it seems to be slow.

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Blackberry has always been approved for DoD use. Unfortunately this will be a headache to guys like myself who manage BES and their users.

Now there needs to be camera-less versions of BB10 phones for them to use in the highest security areas like the camera-less Curve and camera-less Bold 9930.

If DISH says it's good, then bb10 has got to be very VERY good. Disa handles all sorts of fun stuff, like the bunker at raven rock, some of the more interesting parts of mount weather-not to mention the outfitting and ops of the "kneecap" E 4's out of Offutt Afb etc. Don't forget they generate/"deliver"the SIOP launch codes too. They also handle communications for all the entire natl.command authority too. Disa folks in certain operations can't use their cellphones inside the buildings they work-so this certification is huge just from the point they can use their phones inside their offices now.
Oh, and a lot of the Disa contractors work for Verizon, interestingly enough. The "nuts and bolts folks" at least.. They used blackberry bolds generally.
Wonder if this dod certification had something to do with the late 10.2os upgrade.
I can imagine lots of Disa employees in their project offices salivating at the prospect of a secure, good touch phone being made available to them.
BlackBerry 10- the best phone on planet earth.....

Posted via CB10

Really excellent news. Now let's hope they can build some real momentum with the release of 10.2 and cross-platform BBM.

But man, just tortured myself by seeing what BGR had to say. Article wasn't bad, but those comments hurt my brain. I think I'd rather watch Fox News!

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

This is pretty awesome. It was only a matter of time. By then hopefully 10.2 has rolled out for more features to this already awesome os! Lol.

Posted via CB10

Hopefully blackberry is smart enough to advertise this and get the US carriers to promote their products and put them out front instead of keeping them on the back shelves. Way to go BlackBerry

Posted via CB10