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Hanscom begins Network-as-a-Service experiments

Airman 1st Class Beau Cantrell, 47th Communications Squadron cyber transport technician, logs into a “switch” to check the configuration in a server room, Sept. 24, 2018, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. With the Network-as-a-Service agreement, Airmen like Cantrell will be able to transition to core cyber missions, like cyber defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Marco A. Gomez)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center here awarded two Network-as-a-Service agreements today for a total of $121 million, freeing Airmen currently assigned to support base network operations to transition into core Air Force mission cyber operations.

The team used an Other Transaction Agreement for this effort, which allowed flexibility and agility to award their effort in four months, an expedited timeframe. The base information technology service delivery support agreements with AT&T Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are for risk reduction experiments spanning three years. Risk reduction is a phase of an overall effort to provide Enterprise Information Technology as-a-Service.

“This is a very exciting time for our Air Force IT community,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks at Hanscom. “These NaaS experiments will allow us to see what the commercial industry can do for us in terms of bringing the network performance we expect, while maintaining the network security we need, at a price we can afford.” 

The agreement authorizes two experiments on bases varying in function, mission sets, location and size. Work will be performed in Hurlburt Field, Florida; Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico; Maxwell AFB, Alabama; Buckley AFB, Colorado; Offutt AFB, Nebraska and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska. The AFLCMC team chose bases with major command input, while balancing experiment locations against overall need.

The NaaS experiments mark the first line of effort for the EITaaS program. The primary objectives of this effort are the deployment and operation of a secure and reliable network, using commercially proven products and services. This network will enable access to the Department of Defense’s classified and unclassified data and applications from the DoD facilities, as well as from mobile and remote locations.

 

“This represents a significant step forward in the Air Force’s efforts to transform IT,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner, 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber commander. “This initiative allows Airmen currently engaged in IT to increase focus on our core cyber missions, such as cyber defense.”  

Experiments are expected to commence in October and last for three years. EITaaS efforts will continue on other lines of effort while the NaaS experiments are conducted. The next phase of the EITaaS risk reduction effort is the end-user services.

“By using the lessons learned from these experiments, I’m convinced we will have the ability to deliver an EITaaS solution, Air Force-wide, that provides the network the Air Force needs to remain the best Air Force in the world,” said Schmidt.

66th Air Base Group Public Affairs contributed to this report.