Defense

Air Force moving to Windows 10 within two years

Shutterstock image. Copyright: T.Dallas

In a move to expand the use of Microsoft Windows 10 across the Defense Department, the Air Force announced that it will make a push for getting all its devices to operate on the updated system within the next two years.

In a press release, Air Force officials said they want to expedite the transition so they can align the service's cybersecurity posture, "lower the cost of information technology and streamline the IT operating environment."

They said they will also replace a "significant portion" of the Air Force's client inventory. During the migration period, officials said units should not acquire new desktop computers "unless their mission dictates otherwise." Instead, replacement mobile computers running Windows 10 will be issued or existing machines will be upgraded to Windows 10.

Systems already running Windows 10 will still undergo an upgrade to the Air Force's standard desktop configuration.

Earlier this year, DOD Deputy CIO for Cybersecurity Richard Hale told FCW that an executive action by Defense Secretary Ash Carter would ensure that the largest enterprise deployment of Windows 10 would go through across all the military services. Affected devices would include around 4 million laptops, desktops and mobile devices, according to Microsoft.

For the Air Force, the only devices not included in the transition will be iPads and other non-Windows platforms.

The Army and Navy might have different timelines for their Windows 10 migrations. David Wennergren, former assistant deputy chief management officer at DOD, told FCW earlier this year that the department is capable of completing the Windows upgrade in a year. Given DOD's varied IT footprint, however, the upgrade will be uneven, he added.

The Navy might have an easier time upgrading via its Navy Marine Corps Intranet, for example, compared to other organizations with more far-flung networks, said Wennergren, now executive vice president for operations and technology at the Professional Services Council.

The Air Force will start its transition by the end of the year with the goal of completing all scheduled updates by Jan. 31, 2018.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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