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The 111 ATKW rapidly migrating to Air Force Network (AFNET)

Tech. Sgt. Derrick Allen (left) Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Hickey and Master Sgt. Ken Paliwodzinski from the 111th Communications Flight stop working to take a photo Jan. 23, 2015 at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. The three Airmen are key technicians for the pending Air National Guard Air Force Network (AFNet) migration scheduled to begin here in March. Allen and Paliwodzinski attended Federated Administration Rights training in November, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, as part of the slated program implementation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Derrick Allen (left) Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Hickey and Master Sgt. Ken Paliwodzinski from the 111th Communications Flight stop working to take a photo Jan. 23, 2015 at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. The three Airmen are key technicians for the pending Air National Guard Air Force Network (AFNet) migration scheduled to begin here in March. Allen and Paliwodzinski attended Federated Administration Rights training in November, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, as part of the slated program implementation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

A computer motherboard is seen in the 111th Communications Flight shop on Jan. 23, 2015 at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. On March 2, the 111th Attack Wing will begin to migrate its computers and users into a central Air Force Network dubbed AFNET over a 3-week period. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

A computer motherboard is seen in the 111th Communications Flight shop on Jan. 23, 2015 at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. On March 2, the 111th Attack Wing will begin to migrate its computers and users into a central Air Force Network dubbed AFNET over a 3-week period. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- The 111th Attack Wing will soon migrate its computers and users into a central Air Force Network dubbed AFNET. Over a 3-week period beginning March 2, technicians will begin transferring 111th ATKW workstations, network users and servers into AFNET. 

The AFNET migration project represents a major change in how computer networks are managed--one of the most complex Department of Defense technology initiatives ever attempted.

"This is truly a significant milestone for Air Force cyberspace," said Air Force Space Command Commander Gen. William Shelton, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. "Completing this portion of the migration not only paves the way to the Joint Information Environment for us, it is also critically important to our future enterprise and to the defense of Air Force networks on a global scale."

The overall goal of AFNET migration is to collapse all individual or stand-alone Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard networks into a centralized system. Until recently, Air Force units and organizations operated their own independent networks; which led to standardization and security problems; high operation and maintenance costs; and a lack of enterprise-wide situational awareness.  In short, no single organization or commander was responsible for the network.  The AFNET Migration project addresses these issues, and places Air Force cyber operations under the operational control of a single commander.

This approach is expected to yield a significant improvement in the Air Force's ability to fight daily virus activity and malicious intrusion attempts. Additionally, AFNET migration will centralize services like data storage, significantly improving network security and standardization. Finally, operational and training costs will be reduced through the elimination of redundant systems and services.

So how will migration affect you?

Airmen will be able to log into their accounts from any AFNET computer worldwide without requesting and creating a new or additional account.  This allows for easy access during deployments and temporary duty assignments. Sites such as the Air Force Portal, Air Force Personnel Center and the Defense Finance Accounting Service will also remain easily accessible, regardless of duty location. AFNET migration also delivers consolidated customer service helpdesk support via Information Assurance Officer (IAO) Express, Virtual Enterprise Service Desk (vESD), and the Enterprise Service Desk (ESD); all designed to serve as a "one-stop" shop for various common user problems.

As the 111th ATKW approaches its projected start date, teams of technicians from the wing's communications flight, the 299th Network Operations Support Squadron of the 184th Intelligence Wing from the Kansas Air National Guard in Wichita, the Air Force Network Integration Center and the 690th Cyber Operations Group of Maxwell-Gunter Annex, Ala., will be busy preparing equipment and resources to facilitate the migration of almost 1,100 users. To ensure a smooth transition to AFNET, members should look for future communications flight-generated cyber notices, called eAdvisories, for additional migration related information. (Editor's note: Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Hickey, Master Sgt. Ken Paliwodzinski, and Tech. Sgt. Derrick Allen of the 111th Communications Flight contributed to this story)