The U.S. Defense Department approved the use of Apple's iOS6 operating system within its secure DoD networks, according to a statement released Friday by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

The approval from the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency for Apple's iOS6 Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) will allow only government issued Apple devices running on the latest operating system to be used within the agency's secure networks. All approved devices will be configured to the STIG to minimize network-based attacks and will be managed by the Mobility Device Management (MDM) system. The MDM is responsible for "managing and distributing mobile applications and an enhanced cyber defense infrastructure," according to DISA officials.

"All of these pieces must be in place to allow the secure use of commercial mobile devices on department networks," Mark Orndorff, DISA information assurance executive and program executive officer for mission assurance and network operations, said in a press release. "DISA is running a pilot program today where we bring this all together."

Earlier in May, the U.S. Defense Department approved the use of Blackberry 10's smartphones, running on the latest operating system, within its secure networks. Similarly,Samsung's Android Knox-enabled mobile devices were approved for use within DoD networks after clearing all the high security requirements.

According to the press release, more than 600,000 mobile devices are used by the Defense Department and Blackberry owns the highest number at 470,000. 41,000 are Apple products and 8,700 are Google's Android devices.

The Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan is now looking to set up a mobile enterprise solution for each department, which will allow the use of latest commercial technology including smartphones and tablets, said DISA officials in an announcement. It is also looking to develop an enterprise mobile device management capability and application store that will support more than 100,000 devices from multiple vendors by February. Apple's approval from the DISA among the other operating systems such as Blackberry and Android Knox, shows the agency's commitment toward expanding the range of devices to support a multi-vendor environment.

"DISA established a process where vendors develop STIGs following DOD Security Requirements Guides and submit documentation and evidence for DISA's validation," said Terry Sherald, chief of the Information Assurance Standards Branch, according to a report in PC Mag. "We are excited to continue working with other commercial mobile device providers to support a diverse competitive multi-vendor environment."