Air Force command has lots on its IT agenda

Air Force command has lots on its IT agenda

Debra Haley, CIO for the Air Force Materiel Command, says she was pleased with systems performance during Operation Allied Force in Kosovo.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Air Force Materiel Command systems performed remarkably well during Operation Allied Force, with 99 percent network availability, AFMC's chief information officer said.

The command is centralizing its network control and migrating to a standard e-mail system for its 120,000 employees and on-site contractors, said CIO Debra Haley, who works at the command's headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

As of July, AFMC was 92 percent complete in preparing its mission-critical systems for year 2000.

'For operations, we had to make sure that the networks on the bases were accessible,' Haley said. 'In Kosovo, they had to access data from AFMC's [15] sites,' which were linked to a WAN and a number of subnets.

Working to comply with an Air Force directive, AFMC officials are 33 percent complete in establishing a central network control center, Haley said.

'It's a tremendous shift in policy and support agreements,' she said.

Once the center is completed, AFMC officials can halt access to the Non-Classified IP Router Network from one point, she said.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is increasing bandwidth for NIPRnet to deal with the increased traffic, Haley said. 'We'll be working with the individual bases to give them what they need.'

Haley said she expects that by the end of July the group will be 95 percent finished with implementing at AFMC a Sidewinder Security Server 4.0 firewall from Secure Computing Corp. of San Jose, Calif. The deployment included training for systems administrators and putting all Internet traffic through the firewall, she said.

Last September, AFMC bought a site license for Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, which is replacing 23 other e-mail packages used by the command, Haley said. AFMC expects to complete the rollout by December.

Keeping in touch

The command still must find a way to access some old e-mail from Exchange, Haley said. AFMC is using a Defense Message System-compliant architecture.

As part of the shift to Exchange, AFMC officials are implementing a common e-mail addressing scheme that might be used across the Air Force, Haley said.

As an example of the standard addressing scheme, she used john.doe@edwards.af.mil.

Users can also do queries and last-name searches in a commandwide database to find people's e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and office symbols.

As to the Information Technology E-Mall, the command is six to 12 months away from fully implementing the online systems buying site, Haley said.

During a prototype phase, the command will test the site and let users order products through AFMC's site license with Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va., for Oracle Corp. database management system products and tools, Haley said.

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