AppVet Honored for Expediting Mobile Apps to the Military

Published: October 15, 2014


GCN honored NIST and its AppVet project this week at the 2014 GCN Awards Gala for speeding the deployment of mobile hardware and software to warfighters.

Ten government IT projects were selected for GCN’s IT Achievement Awards based on their impact on the agency or public, the quality of the project leadership team and the level of  innovation found in the technology plan.   According to PV Puvvada, Unisys Federal Systems acting president and one of eight judges, this year’s awardees rose to the top because they “focused their attention on achieving mission outcomes for stakeholders and not just on the milestones to get there.”

In the case of AppVet, NIST was approached by DARPA for help deploying commercial mobile devices and applications to the field more quickly. The challenge was to quickly vet the security and reliability of the hardware and software for military needs on a large scale.  Prior to AppVet, military personnel in the field had to use costly, heavy communications equipment with limited functionality, or acquire and test commercial devices that were outdated by the time they could be put to use.

NIST led a multi-organizational effort that developed innovative methods for security, testing and evaluation of hardware and software to securely deploy off-the-shelf smartphones and applications in military field operations.  They created a framework of software assurance methodology, power and reliability analysis techniques, and standards-based cryptographic solutions.  AppVet is available as a free open source download.  The first users were in DoD, which has used it to securely deploy more than 3,000 commercial smartphones in the battlefield.  

AppVet was developed under DARPA’s TransApps program by a team headed by NIST and including George Mason University.  The project began in early fiscal 2012, with the framework becoming operational that year. Funding ended in April 2014.  Because AppVet is a simple, open-source web service and framework for vetting mobile applications, it can be used across government and by commercial developers.