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News > Program lets Airmen work away from their desks
Program lets Airmen work away from their desks

Posted 4/25/2013   Updated 4/25/2013 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

4/25/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- A program here is helping Air Force personnel get out from behind their desks by providing a secure Wi-Fi connection to enable them to accomplish their mission more effectively and efficiently.

Ninety-seven bases worldwide - including Hanscom - were outfitted with a wireless network by the Base Information Transport Infrastructure, or BITI, program team. According to program officials, this important milestone culminated on March 26 when Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks program executive officer, declared the system fully deployed.

All installations were completed by late February, 30 days ahead of schedule. Capt. Andrea Taylor, deputy program manager, attributed the results to efforts of the combined military, civilian and contractor team throughout the past eight years.

"We kept to our acquisition program baseline - within budget and on schedule. With this full deployment, we're providing a robust and secure wireless network," she said. "It's crucial that information can be retrieved and transmitted in the shortest amount of time possible while still maintaining the security of the network."

BITI is a part of Combat Information Transport System, which encompasses a multitude of programs, mainly using commercial-off-the-shelf items, for the movement of data over Air Force networks. This wireless network portion of the program started in August 2005 and was completed in four increments with multiple contracts.

The program has oversight from the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and the team has worked with stakeholders from Air Force Space Command and Air Force Network Integration Center to ensure success.

Taylor explained some of the areas where the wireless network is already making an impact.

"For squadrons on flight lines, maintenance, munitions and medical groups, often they need information right then," she said. "This gives them that capability to conduct their mission without being tied to their desks or offices."

Although this current part of the program will be moving into sustainment, the team is looking to expand the network. Air Mobility Command has expressed interest in utilizing the existing network to add tablet devices, such as iPads, to connect with their electronic flight bags. EFBs allow pilots and maintainers to forego bulky manuals, charts and reference materials, and instead access all this information through their small, lightweight iPad.

According to Taylor, this would be done by creating a separate guest network, similar to those found at hotels and restaurants.

"The team will be working with DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] on a proof of concept for this initiative at Hanscom and Little Rock Air Force Base this summer," said Taylor.

Other plans include possible expansion of the current wireless network for Air National Guard bases.

"I'm exceptionally proud of the BITI team," said Col. Bill Polakowski, C3I Infrastructure Division chief. "Lt. Col. Jen Krolikowski, and her predecessor, Lt. Col. Lance Reynolds, and all the team members met every challenge head-on and deserve congratulations on getting this important capability fielded for the warfighter."

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