Getting Their Attention
The Air Education and Training Command, with headquarters at Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, was established July 1, 1993, with the realignment of Air Training Command and Air University.
More than 60,000 active-duty members and 14,000 civilian personnel make up AETC. The command also has approximately 7,300 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel, and more than 11,500 contractors assigned. The command includes Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces and the Air University.
The AETC uses a network-centric system to alert each desktop, Blackberry or cell phone connected to the network whenever a threat is identified. The system can send preprogrammed or customizable alerts to the full installation staff or to target groups such as EMS depending on the scenario.
“The system increases AETC’s ability to respond to emergencies in real-time,” says Guy Miasnik, president and CEO of AtHoc, Burlingame, Calif., supplier of the IWSAlerts system. “It increases the number of base personnel reached. Before it was difficult to reach everybody in real-time, and they had trouble getting across a clear message of what to do.”
The AtHoc IWSAlerts system distributes an emergency alert, and recipients receive customized audio-visual alerts directly to their desktop regardless of which application they are currently using. “AETC wanted to be able to reach certain people depending on the emergency,” Miasnik says. “It was chosen because of the scalability of system. Once fully deployed, it can reach multiple departments and bases, a critical capability as Commands reorganize and consolidate.”
These notifications typically involve certain weather-related alerts, and the system is also used when activating checklists during base exercises. The system consists of a network architecture of server(s) and workstations. For every 5,000 users, there is one application server and a SQL server used as the database. The servers are located within each base Network Control Center. Each workstation connected to the base network has a Networked Alerting System client installed. As the wing command post needs to alert the base population, an alert is published from there to each end-user.
“While this does not send alerts to personnel located outside, or other general gatherings like the base exchange or commissary, it does provide an effective method of notifying the base population or users who work inside an office environment,” says Senior Master Sgt. Edwin Willson, communication and information directorate’s engineering and installation superintendent for Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. The system was installed and is operational at Randolph, Vance, Sheppard and Luke AFB’s. Maxwell and Laughlin AFB’s are both under contract and will be operational within the next few months. The Networked Alerting System (NAS) is one of three components within the AETC defined Installation Warning System (IWS).
“We consider IWS a three-prong attack with three components (Giant Voice, Telephone Alerting System and Networked Alerting System,” Willson says. “When Giant Voice is activated, a NAS alert is activated with the touch of a button. It can also launch Giant Voice through the network without any additional human interface. There is also the opportunity to send only an NAS alert on an individual component basis, giving the wing commander a flexible system to alert the base population.”
Unlike email-based alerting, IWSAlerts guarantees connected users will see and hear the alerts in a timely manner. AtHoc IWSAlerts System tracks who has received the alert, and if relevant, acknowledges its receipt.
The AtHoc IWSAlerts System includes a library of audio-visual signals that comply with the Air Force’s Full Spectrum Threat Response (FSTR) requirements outlined in Air Force Instruction (AFI) 10-2501.