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Online information system nets DOD award

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga -- A team of Air Force reservists from here and Randolph AFB, Texas, outscored 80 other teams to win a Department of Defense award.

The OpsNet team from Randolph’s 340th Flying Training Group and Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command’s directorate of communications and information was one of five teams to receive a DOD Chief Information Officer team excellence award. The team accepted the award Sept. 29 in a Pentagon ceremony.

Unit reservists access the OpsNet information system through the Internet. They can manage participation, budgets, productivity and billeting arrangements. Also, the system allows the unit to keep tabs on reservists’ participation and readiness.

“We started out just trying to leverage reservist talent and available technology to solve some basic communication challenges,” said Lt. Col. Vince Mancuso. The colonel and Lt. Col. Jim Murphy have led OpsNet since the initiative’s inception in 2000.

“Over time we built a collaborative, cross-command team capable of engineering and fielding a ‘net-centric’ solution that is DOD-certified, sustainable and scalable,” Colonel Mancuso said. “In solving this initial set of problems, we set the stage to solve a lot of other information management challenges for the 340th Flying Training Group and AFRC. In the truest spirit of volunteerism, our reservists carved out time from their busy civilian and military schedules to build and sustain OpsNet.”

In 2004, the Air Force Manpower Agency recognized OpsNet as an Air Force Best Practice. The team documented a 2,000-percent return on investment, an 80-percent reduction in workload and a 90-percent reduction in errors, the colonel said.

“OpsNet is the first AFRC application to achieve single sign-on capability with the Air Force Portal and has become the foundation of the recently inaugurated AFRC ReserveNet system,” Colonel Mancuso said. “The OpsNet team also won the 2005 AFRC Team Excellence Award. Now it’s being considered for the Air Force Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award.”

The colonel is an individual mobilization augmentee in Headquarters AFRC/SC as the deputy chief information officer for software integration and the ReserveNet program lead.

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