U.S. Army Visits Apple HQ to Discuss Military Devices

The U.S. Army sent representative officers to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA to, “discuss the use of Apple products in Army business and battlefield operations.” According to a post at the Army’s Web site, the military respects Apple’s technology and products, and is looking to find ways to leverage commercially available technology for its soldiers in the battlefield.

“Apple technologies offer unique and proven solutions with intuitive designs that allow users to learn quickly without a training manual,” Ron Szymanski, CERDEC’s lead computer scientist for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), said in a statement. “The Army would like to leverage Apple’s experience when designing military applications.”

More specifically, the Army said it was evaluating the use of the iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac, and MacBook platforms in a military capacity.

“The Army is moving away from big-green-box solutions and toward those that will adapt along with our warfighters on the battlefield,” Maj. Gen. Nick Justice of RDECOM said. “We’re continuing to leverage commercial technology for battlefield uses; we can’t ignore that kind of existing knowledge. Our job, as stewards of the taxpayer’s dollar, is to adopt and adapt appropriate commercial technology and offer the best possible solution to the warfighter.”

More praise was sent Apple’s way by Dr. Gerardo J. Melendez, director of Command and Control Directorate (CERDEC), a division within RDECOM, who said, “As we push to develop more commercial capabilities to meet Army information and knowledge management needs, it’s important that we engage companies such as Apple because we stand to benefit just as much from their lessons learned and best practices.”

He added that the Army could realize cost savings by not always re-inventing the wheel by turning to some of the advanced commercial technology being developed by American technology companies.

An attorney contacted by The Mac Observer noted that above and beyond the potential for Apple to secure lucrative contracts with the U.S. military for developing devices or specializing existing devices for the military’s use, offers other possible benefits to Apple.

“If Apple can secure a military contract and the military declares Apple’s device to be essential to U.S. security, the DOJ [could choose to] intervene in the Nokia v. Apple case as an interested party and move the court to stay any adverse ruling against Apple that adversely affects national security and/or move for an order directing Nokia to license the essential technologies on what would be essentially Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory (FRAND) terms, at least for the military’s mobile devices.”

All of which may be putting the horse before the cart, as this was just one meeting between the Army and Apple that is being discussed. That said, the Army added that the meeting ended with plans for future technical discussions between the two organizations.

Thanks to AppleInsider for the heads up on the Army’s announcement.