Pentagon tests tablet access to secret classified documents

The Pentagon has expanded a pilot program to allow some top officials to access documents with a 'secret' classification using 8-inch tablets. The move follows a similar program that gave some officials access to both 'secret' and 'top secret' classified documents on smartphones. With this program, the government hopes to make it easier for these individuals to access data when out of the office.

The Defense Information Systems Agency announced the expansion of Department of Defense's classified mobility pilot program to cover tablets. The idea here is that some officials need to be able to access classified documents and data while outside of the office, and things like tablets and smartphones are far more convenient than having someone with the right clearance deliver the info in person.

The pilot program originally applied only to smartphones, and for good reason — phones are more convenient to carry around and you're more likely to have one on you wherever you go. Tablets have their own convenience, though, namely in the form of a larger screen that makes it easier to read things that don't scale down easily like PDFs.

Talking about the expansion, DOD Mobility Portfolio Manager Jake Marcellus said, "We're bringing the mobile device from something you use mostly to consume information from to being able to actually do work on the device." Whereas the smartphones that can be used have a 5-inch screen, the authorized tablets have a larger 8-inch screen.

Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dr. John Zangardi was the first official to be issued a tablet that can be used to view secret classified documents. Since that first issuing, the agency has given 23 other people the same tablets. When these officials may be allowed to view documents classified 'top secret' using tablets is unclear.