JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
Every day, hundreds of thousands of Airmen sit in front of their computers, log in, and get to work. Behind this seemingly basic requirement for Airmen to do their jobs are millions of dollars in technology, hundreds of miles of cables, and thousands of technicians who work non-stop to provide secure and reliable information technology (IT) to customers.
In the National Capital Region, the 844th Communications Group, under the direction of Air Force District of Washington and with the support of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, provides IT services to over 18,000 users located across the Capital region, including the Pentagon, Joint-Base Anacostia-Bolling, and Joint-Base Andrews. A recent viral letter entitled “Fix Our Computers” implored the Air Force to invest more in modernizing its computers and networks -- and the 844 CG wants its users to know they have a plan in place to do just that.
“We’re refreshing 100 old and outdated computers with new computers every single week to address a lot of the slow-downs and daily frustrations people are experiencing working on old and obsolete equipment,” said Major Giovanni Bondi, Deputy Operations Division Chief, 844 CG. “Each one of these new devices moves us further away from the days when the cheapest, base model computers were standard issue. In the NCR, every new computer we buy has solid state technology storage, upgraded memory, and the latest processors.”
The unit aims to refresh about 25 percent of its fielded computer assets each year and has a comprehensive plan to accomplish their goal.
“Some people see computers as merely an administrative tool, but for AFDW, we understand that for many Airmen a computer is their weapon system to execute their mission and daily tasks,” said Major General Joel Jackson, AFDW commander. “That’s why we make it a priority to dedicate the financial resources and personnel required to get new computers into the hands of our Airmen.”
In addition to their continuous tech refresh efforts, the 844 CG is also engaged in major projects across the NCR to improve user efficiency and mobility. In coordination with SAF/AA, the 844 CG is in the midst of replacing 2,400 desktop computers with laptops to provide Air Staff customers with increased flexibility for how they perform their duties.
“It’s not only what you use that’s important, but how and where you are able to use that technology that can really make you more effective in performing your duties,” said Dr. Keith Hardiman, Director of Information Management, SAF/AAI.
While users will be contacted by the 844 CG when their computer is scheduled to be replaced, you can also check if your computer is one of the 5,000 per year eligible to be refreshed with a few simple clicks. Head to the “844th COMM 411” portal by clicking the icon on your desktop and selecting “My Assets” on the top menu where the age of your assigned computer will be displayed.
The 844 CG recognizes that a user’s computer is only one part of the user experience equation. The performance of the network, the applications customers use, and the reliability of critical services all play a critical factor in the ability of Airmen to get their work done.
“Sometimes it’s not because your computer is old, there might be something else going on, and we want to help you with that,” Major Bondi said. “If you need help, just give us a call or contact us through the 844th COMM 411 portal.”
If you have questions, or other computer issues, the 844th COMM 411 portal can be reached via the icon on your computer desktop or at (240) 857-COMM (2666).