When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, he was told he could no longer use his personal BlackBerry to receive e-mails, as it is not secure. Shortly after he took office, though, press reports emerged that one of America’s government agencies had succeeded in creating an encrypted BlackBerry specially designed for Obama.

The IDF is considering doing the same and in the coming year plans to choose a new phone model to be used by commanders for the “Mountain Rose” encrypted military cellular network.

Mountain Rose is a completely secure network that enables IDF commanders to talk to one another via cellular phones that can also be operated from behind enemy lines, as they were during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“This is a completely secure network that is impossible to hack into,” a senior officer in the IDF’s C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) Directorate explained last week.

In comparison to cellular phones used by the public, the model used by the IDF – designed by Motorola according to military specifications – is bulky and particularly large.

Following Cast Lead, OC C4I Directorate Maj.-Gen. Ami Shafran ordered his staff to propose new devices that could replace the phones currently used for the Mountain Rose network.

Under consideration is the BlackBerry as well as Apple’s I-Phone. The IDF is also planning to expand the bandwidth of the network to enable the new devices to receive live video footage from, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles, and to hold video-conference calls.