Why the Pentagon’s seal of approval matters in mobile

National Defense Magazine reports this week that the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency is developing a system that will let it to issue and manage the latest mobile gadgets more quickly. The DISA has inked a $16 million contract with a Maryland-based firm to serve as a “traffic cop” for devices, creating policies for end users and managing the digital distribution of software including managing an app store. And the agency has stepped up its efforts to work with manufacturers by enabling them to build devices to meet that conform to the new policies before the hardware is available to the public.

The U.S. Department of Defense represents a tiny sliver of the country’s overall mobile device market: It maintains only about 600,000 gadgets, most of which are BlackBerry devices. But its stamp of approval might impact which other devices some other governmental bodies choose to deploy, and businesses who place a premium on security are likely to take note of which vendors get the nod. BlackBerry, Apple’s iOS and Samsung’s Knox line already have a foot in the door with DISA; it will be interesting to see whether any other mobile operating systems are able to pass muster.