Air Force Networks Align With Industry Practices

  • Published
  • By Gina Anderson
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Over the next couple of months, the Air Force will begin transitioning to a new Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network operating system management tool known as Microsoft Windows Update for Business. Once deployed, WUfB will enable computers to receive security updates directly from trusted software Original Equipment Manufacturers such as Microsoft. 

“The current process involves Air Force technicians downloading updates, repackaging them, and then pushing to Air Force computers, a lengthy process that can take months to complete,” said Kirk Theophanous, director and chief information officer of the 72nd Air Base Wing Communications Directorate. “This new system brings the Air Force into alignment with industry practices already employed elsewhere within the DoD. The transition also shortens the process for receiving critical cybersecurity patches and allows users more control over the initiation of updates to support less work disruption.”

Early deployment of the new WUfB will be accomplished by a phased approach utilizing test users from Tinker, Hill and Wright-Patterson Air Force Bases. These users will field test the new software with the goal of preventing any unexpected impacts. 

“Over the past couple of weeks, a test group of approximately 2,000 Tinker users, including all of my Communications Directorate, participated in early testing with no significant issues,” reported Theophanous.

Subsequently, through the end of May 2022, the Air Force will implement the remaining Air Force users, divided into 8 phases, or ‘rings’ to ensure network security.  Roughly one-eighth of Tinker users will be included in each ring. The first ring kicked off on April 8, with each subsequent Friday releasing the next ring. Program Management Office systems will not be included in this implementation.