by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
5/13/2014 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Officials here cut the ribbon on a new facility that will improve cyber testing and integration with less expense.
While the facility at Hanscom is new, the Air Force is actually
transferring an operation known as the Intranet Control Weapons System
Gateway Integration Facility from a local defense contract site. For
approximately a decade, the site has operated at General Dynamics
Information Technology's facility in Needham, Mass.
However, the Air Force now foresees significant cost savings by moving the testing center to Hanscom.
"This is a big deal as we move toward a more consolidated approach,"
said Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, program executive officer for Command,
Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks. "The work that will
take place here will help every base perform more efficiently and
affordably within the Department of Defense Joint Information
The Gateway Integration Facility is a workshop for cyber integration and
testing. It contains hardware and software that serve as a security
boundary between the Air Force's network and the Global Information Grid
that connects to the internet. Here, software, hardware and security
profiles are tested before deploying to one of 16 operational locations
"We estimate a savings of nearly $1 million per year," said Capt. Marcus
Wells, program manager for the transition. "That's more than $7 million
over the Gateway's life cycle."
Additionally, once the Hanscom site becomes fully operational, the Air
Force plans to reduce its overall data center footprint by closing
another testing facility located at Maxwell-Gunter Annex, Ala.,
according to program officials.
By moving onto base, the Air Force assumes control over power, heating,
ventilation and air conditioning facility costs as well as eliminating
travel expenditures. All installation responsibilities and oversight
fall under the 66th Air Base Group at Hanscom.
"The group has been an excellent partner in this endeavor and the
facility is an ideal environment for the advancements we will be making
in cyber security," said Col. Bill Polakowski, C3I Infrastructure
Division senior materiel leader.
The Hanscom site provides the capacity to house 40 racks of equipment,
uninterrupted power supplies, electrical infrastructure, air
conditioning and generator-backed power.
By assuming control of the Gateway Integration Facility, the program
office will directly control cost, schedule and performance of
modernizations of the Gateway's hardware, software, patches, test and
configurations. It will also serve as the primary location for
validating, verifying security and time-compliance technical orders --
all aspects that will have a direct impact on cyber security and the
overall efficiency of the center, according to program officials.
"In addition, having the Gateway Integration Facility on base will also
allow some smaller upgrade and support efforts to be done in-house,
shortening turnaround time," Wells said.
But, there are other advantages of being located at Hanscom besides cost and control.
The site is working toward accreditation through another testing facility on base -- the CEIF --
to gain Defense Research and Engineering Network access, which will
allow engineers to connect to the new facility's assets from their
offices or abroad.
It also puts the responsibility of system integration into the hands of
the Air Force, simplifying contracting efforts with small businesses. No
longer will other contractors be required to get access approval from
the previous site's owner.
"The work that happens within these walls is critical to cyber
security," Polakowski said. "It enables the first line of defense from
cyber threats to the Air Force network. And with this facility, we will
continue to make great strides in sustaining, modernizing and securing
the Air Force network more efficiently with our organic workforce."