|Major Gen. Vincent Mancuso was a major in 1998 when he started his quest to find an easier way to coordinate duty orders, lodging and flying schedule availability before each trip as an instructor pilot. “Despite our best collective efforts to communicate all the TDY details to numerous people via multiple phone calls prior to each trip, some essential elements of information did not get to the people who needed it,” he explained.
In what he calls a “partnership of persistence,” Mancuso and fellow Reserve instructor pilot Maj. Jim Murphy set out to leverage existing Internet and web server capabilities to build a tool that would organize and communicate all the duty, lodging and schedule availability to everyone before they got to the base. Both reservists had a lot of experience in their civilian careers building information technology solutions – Mancuso with a Ph.D. in Information Systems and Murphy with years of experience as a IT systems architect at a Fortune 500 company. They knew a solution was within their reach so they started down a development and certification path that would ultimately yield the ubiquitous online capability known today by Active, Guard and Reserve members as Air Reserve Component Network (ARCNet).
The ARCNet capability grew from humble beginnings and a small computer in a closet at the 340th Flying Training Group (FTG), Randolph Field, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. The first generation system was titled Operations Network (OpsNet). The online toolset at the 340th FTG gained the attention of Lt. Gen. James Sherrard, AFRC commander. He asked Mancuso and Murphy if they could scale the OpsNet capability to serve the entire Air Force Reserve. Mancuso and Murphy knew that this capability would need to be scaled up, so they built the foundational technology framework from the start to support a much larger user base and more capabilities. At that point they renamed the system to ReserveNet and moved the server to a more sustainable hosting location at Headquarter Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. After the Air National Guard became interested in leveraging some of the system capabilities for their Guardsmen, the system once again expanded in scope and name to ARCNet.
Today ARCNet is utilized by traditional reservists, air reserve technicians, individual mobilization augmentees, members of the Air National Guard as well as active duty members. Key features include individual readiness reports, readiness and training dashboards for supervisors, duty planning, participation trackers, Unit Deployment Manager (UDM) tools, the Volunteer Reserve System (VRS), and other essential capabilities and reports. The Air Force Management Internal Control Tracker was initially incubated within ReserveNet then spun-off into its own stand-alone application now hosted by the Air Force Inspector General.
ARCNet innovators and program managers have been lauded with numerous accolades over the years including Microsoft/Air Force Best Practice Award, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer (CIO) Top 5 Team Award, Several AFRC and Air Force team excellence awards, and were named one of CIO Top 100 in Government and Business.