The United States Air Force has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to migrate its email service to a cloud-based system by the end of 2017.
Halloman Air Force Base in New Mexico was the first base to fully migrate its email communications to the cloud in late January, equating to approximately 68,000 registered users, according to the Air Force. Nine more air force bases are currently in the process of migration: Malmstrom, Goodfellow, Offutt, Whiteman, Fairchild, Patrick, Davis-Monthan, Shaw, and Hanscom.
The U.S. Air Force is the third-largest military branch in the United States, and as of 2015, has more than 310,000 active personnel and 70,000 reserves.
Email will be the first Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based service the Air Force migrates to, but the military branch will eventually integrate One Drive, Microsoft’s file and photo cloud storage solution; SharePoint, Microsoft’s team collaboration and document management software; and Skype for Business, Microsoft’s video teleconference solution.
The Air Force Network Integration Center (AFNIC) initially tested the service before rollout, and noted that the implementation experience will help in the Air Force’s planned expansion to additional Microsoft products.
Transitioning to the cloud will grant U.S. Air Force personnel a
substantial increase in storage capabilities, plus the added benefit of mobile support and the ability to access email while away from the office. The Air Force Network (AFNet) will boost storage
capacity to hold 2 million normal emails in their mailbox and another 2 million in their archive.
“For the typical Air Force user, that’s an increase of 2,000 times the current capacity, which is like going from a two-drawer filing cabinet to an entire warehouse,” states Markus Rogers, the executive director of the Air Force Network Integration Center.
Microsoft has been working with the U.S. Air Force for over a decade, and recently signed a $927 million, five-year contract with the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) at the end of 2016. The Defense Department also recruited Microsoft’s services and tech support in February, 2016.