Air Force to expand radio over IP

Providing tactical communications to U.S. warfighters in Iraq has emerged as a major priority of the Air Force’s chief information officer.

The service has deployed a radio-over-IP network along key convoy routes in Iraq, said Lt. Gen. Michael Peterson, the Air Force’s chief of warfighting integration and CIO, during a lunch Oct. 6 sponsored by AFCEA International’s Washington, D.C., chapter.

The Air Force will expand that capability by adding an Objective Airborne Gateway that will give ground forces access to data networks.

“The goal is to provide warfighters with the IP capability no matter where they are in theater,” Peterson said.

The service will mount the first gateway on a manned platform and eventually move it to unmanned systems, he added.

Another priority is to save money on information technology so that those funds can be used to recapitalize the Air Force fleet.

The IT community has done more than any other Air Force component to free funds for recapitalization, Peterson said.

The service will save more than $1 billion a year once it implements a consolidated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that will replace 300 existing systems.

“We have high hopes for the ERP effort,” Peterson said. “Eliminating 300 separate systems will save a lot on sustainment.”

Another money-saving effort is a program called Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO 21). That program is “identifying ways to do things better, faster and with less overhead,” Peterson said.

AFSO 21 is saving the service more than $20 million a year by consolidating telephone operator assistance for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at a single location, he said.

Another AFSO 21 initiative, the Area Processing Center program, will consolidate servers from individual bases at regional data centers and reduce manpower requirements for those operations.

“AFSO 21 initiatives allow us to streamline our processes and maximize the use” of dollars, Peterson said.

About the Author

Peter Buxbaum is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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