Air Force to announce portal

In October, the Air Force plans to announce an enterprise portal initiative

that will integrate more than 28,000 information systems and help service

members cut through red tape that often prevents them from getting the information

they need to do their jobs, the service's top communicator said last week.

The portal, informally dubbed My.AirForce (my dot Air Force), is intended

to shrink the service's hundreds of Web-based systems into one point of

easy access for all the service's online information. It also will provide

a host of online services, such as automated, paperless in processing of

personnel, medical, pay and other family information for service members

who move to a new base. In addition, the portal might also serve Air Force

commanders requiring critical battlefield information.

Lt. Gen. John Woodward, the Joint Staff J-6 and Air Force director of communications,

announced the initiative during a keynote speech last week at the Air Force

Information Technology Conference in Montgomery, Ala. Portions of the portal,

such as the Virtual Military Personnel Facility and specific pilot records,

will be up and running by October. Of the 28 modules being worked on now,

up to 16 could be available as early as October, Woodward said.

The My.AirForce approach calls for a single Web portal to deliver whatever

information Air Force personnel need to get their jobs done, said Air Force

Col. Neal Fox, director of the Commercial Information Technology Product

Area Directorate at the Standard Systems Group. "That includes providing

information for logistics, to know the status of an order of supplies required

for a base or a deployment, to provide essentially information on the status

of anything a person would need to know to get the job done in the Air Force,"

Fox said.

"Essentially, it becomes an extension of our command and control system,

providing timely information to make critical decisions," he added.

Air Force officials declined to provide specific details on the program,

but said critical decisions will be made in October at the service's so-called

Corona meeting, an annual get-together of the service's top leaders at which

they debate some of the Air Force's most critical issues and often lay out

a plan of action.

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