Air Force sets final plans for enterprise portal

Air Force sets final plans for enterprise portal

MONTGOMERY, Ala.'The Air Force was set late last week to award a contract for a portal that will consolidate hundreds of legacy systems at 110 bases into a single point of access.

Since December, about 175,000 Air Force personnel at major commands have used, a beta Web portal developed by Sytel Inc. of Bethesda, Md., that merged more than 300 unclassified applications and allowed users to customize features based on job function.

The beta portal included access within the Air Force to inventory management, maintenance, medical, personnel, computer-based training, communications, finance, acquisition, contracting, transportation, and warfighter and frontline combat information systems, said Chuck Paone, a spokesman at the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Users can find leave and earnings information, file tax forms, make a change of address, or find the e-mail address and phone number for thousands of active, National Guard, Reserve and civilian Air Force personnel by using the global white pages [GCN, Feb. 19, Page 20].

The live version of the portal will be accessible to the entire service, said John Gilligan, the Air Force's deputy chief information officer, at the recent Information Technology Conference here.

It will have a new search engine that will let users locate information from a wider variety of sources, Gilligan said. The portal architecture will use middleware to merge about 700 Air Force legacy databases.

'We have about half of the capabilities we would like to see on it,' Gilligan said. 'The vision is that every Air Force member would go to the portal to get information.'

The portal will reside on the Air Force Global Combat Support System's integration framework, which will also provide a path for integrating applications onto the portal, Gilligan said.

The portal is based on open industry standards and uses architecture developed by Mitre Corp. of Bedford, Mass., that lets software run on multiple hardware and operating system platforms, Paone said.

Driving the modernization program is the goal of saving money and working more rapidly, Gilligan said.

'This has now become very commonplace in industry,' Gilligan said. 'It's an economic issue. We're doing it to free up people and dollars.'


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