Other possible safeguards include a feature that would allow phones only to send and receive information from a "cloud," meaning no data would be actually stored on the phone's hard drive itself. "It would just be a brick if you were captured or ambushed," she said.
For phones which need to contain sensitive information, McCarthy said, the military could rig them to self-destruct or be remotely erased if they were to fall into enemy hands.
McCarthy insists the technology the Army is testing -- a broad mix of devices running Apple, Windows, Android and Blackberry operating systems -- is no different from that available to average consumers.
But he acknowledged the military might have to "ruggedize" the devices to withstand often harsh conditions in the field and deploy portable fuel cells or backpack solar panels to help recharge batteries on the fly.
"We're not committing to one phone model or one solution. We want to be adaptable," he said. "Our approach has been to be device-agnostic and operating system-agnostic."
The first units could begin deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan with the smartphone technologies this spring.