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Air Force launches 'AF eMail'

by Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle
Air Force Print News

5/18/2005 - WASHINGTON -- The Air Force began the first phase of a new e-mail system May 6 that will enhance communication of Airmen worldwide.

AF eMail (aka eMail-for-Life) is a single, static e-mail address that will not change during the career of an Airman or Air Force civilian employee.

The current e-mail system, rapid mobility of the force and frequent assignments and career development opportunities outside the Air Force can make it difficult for Airmen to communicate.

"At any given time, we can only reliably connect and communicate with 79 percent of our force through e-mail," said Capt. Kirk Phillips, information technology division chief at the Air Force Senior Leader Management Office.

"E-mail is the most critical communication tool that we're using to implement force development and transform our personnel process. Industry-standard e-business solutions require static e-mail addresses, and that is the direction the Air Force is headed," Captain Phillips said.

Airmen will be able to complete personnel actions in minutes through e-mail and the Internet, along with other benefits, he said.

"Not only is there a huge potential for Air Force cost avoidance, but mission support will be greatly enhanced by empowering every member to reliably connect and communicate with each other without worry about changing e-mail addresses every couple of years," Captain Phillips said. "We'll be able to transform personnel processes under the Air Force directorate of personnel's personnel service delivery model and empower members and databases to connect and communicate through e-business applications instead of local personnel flights."

Those personnel processes include: official personnel notifications and announcements; command, promotion and professional military education candidacy and selection; and retirement, assignment, evaluation, feedback and decoration processing.

Officials said they plan for the Air Force to be fully capable under AF eMail by 2007. Currently, every senior Air Force official has been provided an account.

"We've segmented the force based on mission requirements and will slowly scale the availability to the entire force versus an all-at-once implementation," Captain Phillips said. "We started with the highest level leaders, and our plan is to offer it to other segments of the force this summer."

During the initial stages, Airmen will continue to use their local or major command e-mail accounts as well as the AF eMail account.

"Until the migration of e-mail accounts happens, it's each member’s responsibility to check the AF eMail account on a regular basis," Captain Phillips said. “That’s where their career-affecting personnel actions will be.”

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