Air Force on consolidation course

The Air Force is about one-third through the process of consolidating its information technology resources in the hopes of building a greater enterprise infrastructure, the service's chief information officer said May 29.

The goal is to have the process completed by fiscal 2004, said Air Force CIO John Gilligan, although the initiative has been hindered by a lack of funding necessary to buy the larger servers that are needed to replace the service's smaller ones.

The goal is to improve reliability, improve security and reduce cost, Gilligan said.

"We don't have the outages that we used to have," he said. The initiative also is freeing up a lot of people who used to do system administration work part time, enabling them to get back to being pilots and doing other, more mission-critical tasks, he said.

The Navy has undergone a much-publicized effort to consolidate hundreds of networks across its shore-based sites under its Navy Marine Corps Intranet initiative. The Air Force effort differs from NMCI because it is not a top-down approach, Gilligan said. Instead, the bases have been given a mandate, standards and architecture, but they own the task.

The current program goes through fiscal 2004 because bases have had trouble finding the money to purchase larger servers. Gilligan said the Air Force is considering a proposal that would accelerate that schedule.

The consolidation includes servers for e-mail, Web access, data and files. It is also an effort to bring together functions, such as financial and personnel data.

As part of the effort, the Air Force is also trying to reduce the number of applications the service uses, he said.

Gilligan spoke May 29 at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Washington, D.C., chapter lunch.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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