AF software exec retires after 30 years

Robert Frye says part of modernizing SSG's systems has been to put applications on the Web. He led creation of the My.AF.mil portal.

On his watch, the modernized Standard Systems Group has developed and supported information systems for all the Air Force

Immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Air Force Materiel Command identified information on the Nonclassified IP Router Network that it considered too sensitive to leave on an unclassified net.

The Air Force Standard Systems Group removed the data, which included details on tracking ammunition shipments between commands, and built a portal to access the information via the Secret IP Router Network.

SSG took 65 hours to bring the portal online, a task that under normal circumstances would take about six months, said Robert Frye, SSG's executive director.

The task illustrated the new environment in which the military has operated since Sept. 11.

"The Materiel Command decided the data was too sensitive to continue to operate in that environment and asked us to develop a portal," said Frye, who will retire next month after three decades of active-duty military and civilian service.

"We have been very sensitive to the security of our systems," he said.
The portal has since been scrapped, and the sensitive but unclassified data was transferred back to the NIPRnet a few months ago, Frye said, but the group monitors the information on the NIPRnet.

SSG maintains about 100 combat support information systems for the Air Force and the Defense Department--mostly for the Materiel Command--that were built over the past 30 years.

The group has modernized systems in many ways. The latest push has been to put applications on the Web, Frye said.

"It's much easier for people to use instead of the old green screens where they had to fill in the blanks," Frye said.

He took over the 2,400-person SSG, based at Gunter Annex-Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in May 1995.

The chip stops here

As the service's chief software shop, SSG acquires, develops and maintains combat support information systems for the Air Force and DOD.

Under Frye, the group helped build an enterprisewide Internet portal, My.AF.mil, in less than 60 days. Sytel Inc. of Bethesda, Md., developed the beta version of the Web portal.

The architecture uses middleware to merge 700 Air Force databases.
It provides access within the Air Force to acquisition, combat, communications, contracting, finance, inventory management, maintenance, medical, personnel, training and transportation information systems.

Users can also find leave and earnings information, file tax forms, change address, or find the e-mail address and phone number for thousands of active, National Guard, Reserve and civilian Air Force personnel.

Frye joined the service in 1969. He worked in many systems design positions as an active-duty service member before joining the Air Force Reserve and working in a civilian post.

Before he took the helm at SSG, Frye was director of the Communications-Computer Systems Directorate at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Frank P. Weber, deputy director for logistics and business operations for the Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., will replace Frye at SSG.

After he retires, Frye plans to stay in Montgomery and start a consulting business.

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