JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The Air Force District of Washington will soon experience changes to email, file sharing, and collaboration services as the Air and Space Forces adopt cloud-based technology.
Beginning in March 2020, to increase information security and technology, the services will turn to the Microsoft-powered Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services program, known as CHES, to enhance communication while allowing Airmen to focus on their primary duties, said Michael Percival, 844th Communications Group, CHES portfolio manager.
Airmen will transition from Defense Information Systems Agency email to Microsoft’s O365 cloud email, he said, adding that one of the most notable changes of the migration will be moving from the current “@mail.mil” domain to the Air Force standard domain, “@us.af.mil.”
“Enterprise email domain users will graduate from the current 1-4 gigabyte email storage size to a generous 100 gigabytes of storage,” Percival said. “During the email transition, messages stored on your computer can be consolidated into the cloud to prevent information loss, and users will also inherit an individual cloud storage offering an additional 1,000 gigabytes of file storage.”
Other changes include the introduction of Office 365, an integrated suite of capabilities that will also serve as a secure platform for Air Force SharePoint websites, and Microsoft’s Teams application, which offers file sharing, note taking, screen sharing and other amenities to optimize communication and collaboration.
Additionally, the transition calls for approximately 2,000 iPhones to transfer to CHES, which will require those with older phone models to get a new device upgrade.
Users in the 844th CG will also be some of the first in the National Capital Region transition to CHES to allow the communications group to address any challenges non-IT members may face before the major rollout.
The remainder begin with the first unit transitioning March 10 and another unit transitioning weekly thereafter. This by-unit rollout plan will keep users within the same organization on the same email platform until their unit’s period of transition.
AFDW Commander Maj. Gen. Ricky N. Rupp said this region’s transition is a final step to completing these objectives for Airmen around the continental United States.
“The Department of the Air Force is fundamentally transforming what we buy, how we buy, and who we buy from to attain the future force we need, as well as to deliver innovative capabilities to our warfighters,” Rupp explained. “We develop game-changing ideas through new partnerships to digitally connect and modernize our force.”
The goal, Percival said, is for CHES to be more flexible and more accessible to users. There may be some challenges during the initial transitions. However, this team is doing everything possible to make the transition smooth.
Live support teams will be deployed to the area to visit each unit at the time of their transition to assist with any technical difficulties that may arise.
Users have various other options for accessing technical assistance with CHES.
For frequently asked questions or live chat with technical support staff, visit https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/AFNCR-CHES-KNOWLEDGE. During the transition rollout, users can call (240) 857-COMM or 857-2666, option #6 to be directed to a specialized support team dedicated to transition assistance. IT representatives will also be traveling around worksites to offer on-the-spot assistance, if necessary.