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[] US Air Force bastelt Web-Portal zur Systemintegration,

March 4, 2002 

Air Force looks to Web to connect multiple information systems 

By Molly M. Peterson, National Journal's Technology Daily 

A new Web-based portal connecting thousands of separate information
systems will be the foundation for the Air Force's future military
operations, the Air Force's chief information officer said Monday.

"Information systems are really the backbone of where we're going in the
future," John Gilligan said, adding that the military's transformation
into the information age requires "very tight partnerships" with the
high-tech industry. "We're bringing in industry consultants to help with
the process changes and the cultural changes, which tend to be the
biggest issues."

Gilligan said the Air Force is leveraging cutting-edge commercial
technology to "fundamentally change" its overseas combat operations and
home-based administrative functions. "All of a sudden, the Air Force,
from an operational mission perspective, is now intolerant of separately
designed systems ... that do not work across the broader Internet,"
Gilligan said during a conference sponsored by the organization E-Gov.

Roughly a year ago, the Air Force mandated that its departments link
their information systems into "a common portal" that would serve as a
"window" for all military and civilian personnel. So far, about 400
systems have been connected, and Gilligan said the migration of another
2,000 systems has been mapped.

"We've made a lot of progress, but this has not been easy," Gilligan

The new structure has helped support a military plan that requires
real-time communication between many U.S. bases and overseas units. In
the past, the Air Force would station many combat troops overseas for
long periods. But in recent years, it has moved to a home-based
structure in which all troops are permanently stationed in the United
States and deployed overseas for combat in 90-day rotations.

"A unit that is going [overseas] will get off the airplane and pick up
the jobs that had previously been done by the unit that is now getting
on that same airplane to head home," Gilligan said, adding that the
units typically link to their home bases for much of the information
they need for executing combat operations. 

"No longer can we have stovepipe, or separately managed, systems that
are supporting our different bases because as we deploy the folks in
these 90-day rotations ... there's no time to train on new systems,"
Gilligan said. "They've got to hit the ground running and be able to
pick up that job because it's a continuous military operation." 

Gilligan added that as the Air Force increases its ability to rapidly
integrate information from sensor technology, intelligence assets and
other globally positioned sources, it will be able to launch massive
military operations in dramatically shorter periods. 

"We took six months after the invasion of Iraq into Kuwait to build up
our forces and start to engage," Gilligan said of Operation Desert Storm
in 1991. "We want to do this in days." 

But he cautioned that security and reliability will be crucial to the
Air Force's new information-based strategies. "These systems, and this
network, needs to be secure because this will become our Achilles' heel
if it can be exploited," Gilligan said.

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