A New Kind of IT Experience for Airmen
The 21st Century IT Store is designed to give airmen a more consumer-oriented experience in terms of how they get and use IT.
“If you’re onboarding in a new base, your laptop won’t be there when you get there. You’ll have a really long wait,” Knausenberger said during the AFCEA NOVA Air and Space Forces IT Day on Dec. 15, according to Breaking Defense. “It should be more like an Apple Store experience. If I want a laptop, I can go to a storefront, digital or physical, all set up with the gear that I need.”
Such a shift would save the Air Force both time and effort, Knausenberger said, and will make operations overall more efficient. The goal of the program is to cut down on redundancy in IT acquisition and move different applications into a single catalog of services, according to Breaking Defense.
Air Force Wants to Enhance Networks at Bases
Meanwhile, the Air Force has learned that users’ satisfaction with IT services jumped as they worked remotely compared with being on base, according to Knausenberger, who cited internal survey data at the same event, FCW reports.
“Because you’re at home, you’ve got a great commercial connection, there’s no funky configurations going on on your base that’s different from the next base,” Knausenberger said. “What we’re working on now is really instrumenting so we can see exactly what [those problems are] on each base so we can focus our effort and our spend,” she said.
According to Knausenberger, 61 percent of users who have been primarily working from home approved of their IT services, compared with 27 percent of those who mainly work on an Air Force base. For those who work on the Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network, those figures rose to 69 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
The Air Force wants to make the IT experience better for users who are on base, and is looking into VPNs, laptops and faster internet connections to help improve user satisfaction.
“We have a lot to get after on the base side,” Knausenberger said, according to FCW. “We should be open to using commercial internet and a VPN. We should be open to … some more of the zero trust technologies that we’re adopting now.”