Air Force upgrading data transport

Combat Information Transport System

The Air Force is continuing its efforts to use commercial off-the-shelf technologies to modernize its data transfer capabilities through the $4.7 billion Combat Information Transport System, and it also is reorganizing the CITS road map based on users' needs, according to program officials.

The CITS program is focused on using commercial products to modernize information technology at the base level and has more than 120 locations worldwide, said Capt. Korwin Miike, CITS' chief of integration and strategic planning, during an Aug. 27 seminar at the Air Force IT Conference in Montgomery, Ala.

CITS is managed by the Electronic Systems Center's Defense Information Infrastructure's Global Grid Product Area Directorate at Hanscom Air Force Base, Lexington, Mass.

The CITS mission has four main focus areas:

* Upgrading base backbones with high-speed data transport.

* Providing centralized command and control and information assurance tools.

* Upgrading and sustaining base telephone switches and management systems.

* Proving Air Force-level help-desk services for CITS and related systems users.

Last week, the program wrapped up testing on an enterprise tracking and notification graphical user interface, a feature that will enable major commands to communicate with the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and other offices on the Defense Department's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET), Miike said.

He added that CITS also recently awarded a certification and accreditation contract to Northrop Grumman Corp., which was done to help identify and mitigate risks within the program.

Among the ongoing CITS efforts are an overall shift from base-centric to major command-centric operations, enterprise management, fault management, remote access terminal services, classified networks and wireless capabilities.

Lt. Col. Michael Horn, CITS program manager, said that in the past, sustainment on CITS products lasted for about two years and then was passed on to the base, but new products will be sustained for their entire life cycle.

Horn also said that CITS program leaders meet with the major commands' senior leadership each October to discuss priorities, and restructuring occurs based on those meetings. This year, moving up the timeline to get classified network links in at the bases has been deemed a priority based on feedback, he said.

In the next couple of months, CITS will focus its resources on standardizing the major commands' Network Operations and Security Center (NOSC) infrastructure and remote access terminal services, Miike said. He added that there also is interest in awarding a systems integration contract for CITS, but based on the size and scope of the program, "that will take some time."

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