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Air Force backtracks on iPad purchase

updated 08:40 pm EST, Wed February 22, 2012

Move believed to be due to security concerns

The Air Force Special Operations Command has reportedly canceled its immediate plans to acquire several thousand iPads. The command is said to have removed its request from the Federal Business Opportunities website just days after Nextgov raised concerns over the government's inclusion of Russian-developed GoodReader software as part of the purchase.

Apple's tablets would have been used as digital flight bags, as a replacement for paper documents such as charts and flight manuals. The procurement documents initially called for GoodReader, however critics from other military branches suggested the software's Russian origins pose a potential security threat.

AFSOC spokeswoman Capt. Kristen Duncan told Nextgov that the command "continues to explore options" for its electronic flight bag program, which will include tablets in the evaluation process.

"We continue to look at each component of the program to ensure we do the right thing for our airmen, don't introduce unnecessary risk into operations and provide the best tools available to conduct the mission," Duncan added.

It remains unclear if the AFSOC pulled its request due to the software concerns.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Withdraw and wait for iPad 3

    I am holding orders until the day iPad 3 is announced.

    No SKU, no talk.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    stupid reason

    What many people don't realize is that most software is written by programmers in multiple countries, not just by Americans in the US. There's several major applications used by US government sites that isn't owned by US companies. If they really want the software, they'll adjust their rules. Microsoft uses a lot of non-US programmers and Android is not just written in the US. It's origins are world-wide.

  1. Leatherropes

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Government ineptness and inefficiency and downright stupidity.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Department of Defence

    Would much rather invest in Developing for the Android Environment. They can gain access to the Android Kernel and configure their top secret software for peak efficiency and security.

    Can't do that with the iWhatevers.


  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Who came up with the name that rhymes with HEMORRRRRRRROID?

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    While GoodReader is a great app, I doubt the Air Force needed it specifically. The iPad can already natively display PDFs and DOC files, which I assume they were already using GoodReader for.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Inept

    Government ineptness and inefficiency and downright stupidity.

    That's right. We need to put people into the government who know that one truth holds above all others: Buy Apple products, as many as possible, regardless of any reasoning or monetary or other concerns. Just get them, worry about the details later. In fact, there are no details to worry about. You just get them, and the world will start to quake in their boots as the US Gov't becomes the most competent and non-wasteful one in the world!

  1. driven

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They should look at a USA based company called Airwatch. Central document management and distribution to the iPads. There is a central place to update the documents, and even revoke access if necessary. A few airlines are already using this solution to replace their "flight bags".

    It seems like it would be a good fit to me.

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