by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
6/18/2015 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The
Base Information Transfer Infrastructure program office here recently
awarded four contracts geared at recapitalizing or replacing critical
BITI is responsible for upgrading the Air Force's cyber infrastructure
and provides both hard-wired and wireless network capabilities to 175
active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard bases worldwide.
According to program officials, the four contracts mark the first round
of recapitalization efforts for 44 installations in the operations and
support phase for both wireless and wired systems. The total value of
the contracts is approximately $24 million with an expected completion
date of September 2016.
Full deployment is anticipated for February 2017.
"BITI efforts are effective in mitigating vulnerabilities against cyber
attacks," said Adam Hurst, BITI program manager. "However, to ensure the
network sustains its reliability, maintainability, availability and
equipment certifications, component refreshes are needed every few
The recapitalization will update hardware such as core and critical
distribution nodes every five years once the initial installation is
complete. The five-year update is in alignment with industry standards
for commercial-off-the-shelf refresh cycles on BITI-related network
According to Hurst, this will drive out obsolete equipment that could introduce vulnerabilities to the network.
BITI also has the capability to address the growing demand for
additional bandwidth, which is driven by voice, data and imagery
requirements. If requirements are approved, the program will adjust to
meet the users' data transport needs.
"We will be looking at several different initiatives in order to provide
better capabilities and lower costs," Hurst said. "Some of these
include expanding the wireless networks, right-sizing the network to
accommodate increased bandwidth requirements and supporting the
transition to the Joint Information Environment. BITI will also look at
new ways to architect the network and new equipment technology in order
to provide the best data transport solution."
With 800,000 users worldwide, the Air Force network infrastructure that
BITI provides affects every single Airman. It allows service members to
communicate via email, access mission applications and even conduct
wireless F-22 Raptor maintenance, such as running diagnostics.
BITI, which is part of the much larger $3 billion Combat Information
Transportation System program, began in the 1990s, but at the time,
dealt strictly with wired networks. BITI-Wired provides base-wide
connectivity for all core facilities deemed mission essential while
maintaining connectivity to all other base network users.
These "turnkey" active-duty, Guard and Reserve installations include a
distribution system element, such as fiber optics, a manhole and duct
system; inside plant element, consisting of power, ground, cooling and
physical security; and a network element, which includes switches for
distribution and user access.
The wireless component of BITI was added in 2005.
Beginning in 2011, the BITI-Wireless began to upgrade elements of the
system starting with the authentication server. Later, the wireless
controllers and access points were updated.
The BITI wireless component of the program will be added to the recapitalization effort beginning in fiscal year 2016.
"The recent contract awards are a step in the right direction toward
updating our Air Force cyber infrastructure," said Col. John
Bedingfield, C3I and Networks Infrastructure Division senior materiel
leader. "The contributions made by the BITI team are vital to the Air
Force network and impacts every Airman across the globe."