The Pentagon is planning to open its network for the first time to iOS devices and devices running Google’s Android operating system, reports “The Washington Post” (

The Defense Department plans to hire a contractor to build a system that will manage and secure at least 162,500 Apple and Android devices, according to a document posted online Oct. 22. The system may be expanded to handle eight million devices, the department said.

The plan opens the door for the military to provide alternatives to BlackBerrys, which already are used on the Pentagon’s network. RIM has clung to government business as an area of strength as consumers and some businesses switch to rival devices with bigger touch screens and faster browsers, according to the “Post.”