An RFI from the US Marine Corps concerning Smartphone Technology:


This is a request for information (RFI) surrounding commercially available or emerging trusted handheld platforms (i.e., smartphones, tablets, etc.). These trusted handhelds contain the ability to host multiple guest operating systems (OSs). The idea is to provide a high level of assurance through a separation kernel and still maintain a high level of functionality through innovative modern mobile operating systems (i.e., guest OSs). The purpose of this RFI is for the Marine Corps to learn more about this emerging technology. The current Department of Defense (DoD) solutions for secure mobile communications fails to provide a low cost, high functional and short procurement timeline for enterprise level deployment.
The desired solution is expected to support secure and unsecure communications for commercial markets. The ideal solution provides a high-assurance commercially-available framework that the DoD can build upon to meet military specific requirements.


Based on various publicly announced partnerships between high assurance platform providers and mobile handheld device manufacturers, the Marine Corps believes this evolving commercial demand, if leveraged appropriately, could help offset the traditional high cost surrounding this capability. Across the DoD, various organizations are establishing programs to remove functionality or “harden” the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) handheld devices for sensitive communications.

However, this model is extremely difficult to maintain, because by the time the platforms are “hardened”, certified & accredited (C&A) and fielded they become obsolete or unsupported. The problem arises when the acquisition timeline exceeds the platform lifetime. For example, the C&A process takes two years, but the handheld lifetime is only two years. In this example, by the time the handheld is officially fielded, the technology is obsolete. This RFI is soliciting for system architectures and business partnerships that ultimately facilitate low-cost and high-assurance handhelds. The term “high assurance” is defined as at least meeting the common criteria for evaluated assurance level (EAL) of 5+ or above.


1. Describe your organization.

2. Describe your organizations development experience surrounding high assurance platforms.

3. Describe the market (i.e., government or commercial) that this technology might support.

4. Describe the level of demand you anticipate for this technology.

5. Is there potential for a legitimate market outside of the military? What requirements should exist to ensure a larger market?

6. What political or organizational considerations are needed to produce an optimal solution?


The ideal technical solutions should meet these minimal requirements.

1. A family of small form factor devices (i.e., smartphone and tablet sizes) – with regard to size and weight.

2. Each handheld device can access multiple domains (e.g., internet, intranet, secret).

3. Each handheld device contains multiple commercial wireless interfaces (i.e., personal area network [PAN], wireless local area network [WLAN], wide area network [WAN]).

4. The devices provide high availability for the duration of their expected lifetime.

5. The devices are capable of installing and operating commercially available mobile operation systems.

6. The devices leverage an inherent display to read in direct sunlight and no light.

7. The devices are capable of reporting position location information.

8. The devices using common commercially available device input output (I/O).

9. The devices can store data to a capacity consistent with commercial mobile devices.

10. The devices must leverage commercial demand to offset unit price and benefit from economies of scale.

11. The architecture is designed to facilitate a cross domain solution.


1. Is there a commercial sponsor(s) for this type of technology? If so, what are their requirements? If possible, please provide a complete list as an attachment or addendum.

2. What solution can meet the needs of this RFI? Describe your solution that might solve the highlighted problem. Provide a detailed description and drawing(s) to illustrate a proposed solution including an overview of the architecture.

3. What technologies lack maturity to produce an optimal solution?

4. What technical information is needed to produce an accurate (i.e., considering cost, schedule, and performance) proposal?

5. Given your proposed solution, what power limitations are expected?

6. Given your proposed solution, what handheld characteristics are required?

7. Of the requirements listed in the “general technical requirements” section, which ones are infeasible and alternatively which ones are missing?


1. Provide a cost estimate for your solution.

2. How long would your proposed solution take to produce fieldable implementations?

3. What limitations might delay fielding?

4. What logistical considerations are needed?

5. Is your company expecting a commercial or non-commercial procurement? If a commercial procurement is expected, what is the expected commercial demand?

6. Has your company already partnered with other key providers? If so, what partners have you selected and why?


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