“Uncle Sam” called, and we answered: big time.
A few years ago, the U.S. Department of the Air Force initiated a formalized program, Enterprise Information Technology-as-a-Service (EITaaS), to upgrade or replace legacy communications technologies with commercially provided networking capabilities, service delivery, and cybersecurity enhancements across selected bases operated by the Air and Space Forces. This is a generational reinvention of technology and operations to help the Air and Space Forces modernize and improve how they deliver their mission with commercially provided technologies and services.
We were among the few technology providers selected for the EITaaS program. Our assignment? Upgrading and modernizing networking services across Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado (Buckley); Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (JBER); and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska (Offutt). At each of these bases, we are delivering Wide Area Networking, Base Area Networking, AT&T 5G, and FirstNet®, Built with AT&T – the only network built with and for America’s first responders - to help the Air and Space Forces transform their mission capabilities. We are also managing these networking services to support the fulfillment of the core objective of EITaaS: to help the Air and Space Forces learn how they can benefit from outsourcing IT operations to commercial providers.
Today, we are celebrating AT&T 5G service delivery at Buckley. This significant milestone is the perfect occasion to reflect on the transformative benefits we expect to enable for the Air and Space Forces at Buckley, JBER, and Offutt.
After upgrading the Wide Area and Base Area Networks at Buckley, we delivered AT&T high-speed Wi-Fi capability in 25 buildings, on the flight line, and in the base munitions area. We also greatly expanded the existing coverage within buildings and across the base.
The ingenuity the Airmen and Guardians display in using the new Wi-Fi service, even on a small scale, is impressive. At Buckley, Guardians use it to eliminate sending a runner between their hospital’s outdoor COVID testing site and printers inside the hospital. At Offutt, pilots use our Wi-Fi to change their flight plans while in the cockpit, eliminating the need to return to the hangar.
And that’s just the beginning. Our Wi-Fi services allow these Air and Space Force users to untether from their desks and more efficiently accomplish their missions. Personnel with laptops and issued mobile devices can stay connected across the base without logging off and back on or rebooting computers at different locations. Base security personnel can receive real-time wireless updates to the Wants and Warrants Database that underpins the Defense Biometric Identification Systems used to confirm identities at base entry points, increasing security and protection of base personnel and assets. And, Air and Space Force first responders authorized for FirstNet can use the only dedicated communications platform in the country that provides always-on, 24x7 priority and preemption across voice and data communications using a physically separate network core fully dedicated to public safety.
Our advanced connectivity solutions can also support electronic flight bags (EFBs). EFBs are portable electronic devices that consolidate nearly 120 pounds of paper products into a single tablet. They contain electronic flight information such as navigational charts, Air Force instructions, and technical orders. EFBs have been shown to deliver cost and operational efficiencies to the military.
Our 5G services are expected to support future capabilities on these bases where mobile connectivity or network access is required but wired infrastructure does not exist. Future use cases may include in-vehicle 5G connectivity for security forces, fire departments, aircraft maintainers, and civil engineers. They may also include 5G-enabled Internet of Things management solutions for aerospace ground equipment, construction equipment, buses, and vehicle fleets. These capabilities can open the doors for the Air and Space Forces to adopt force-multiplying solutions like autonomous vehicles and robotics.
This is a massive undertaking. We have transformed 800+ network devices, 1,300+ Wi-Fi devices, and 5,000+ VoIP devices -- and we’re only just beginning. We have also significantly improved network performance and the user experience with our service assurance and cybersecurity protections.
We are enormously proud to pave the way for our military to extend its global superiority.