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Army users prepare for update to Vista software

Sep 29, 2009

By 516th Signal Brigade, News Release

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- In an effort to improve network security, the Department of Defense has mandated the migration of all Windows-based computers to Microsoft's Vista operating system. The security of the Pacific Network is paramount when it comes to making sure all users are protected from hackers.

On April 30, 2009, the Pacific Network began migrating systems capable of supporting the new Vista Army Gold Master (AGM) 8.8 on all existing Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router (NIPR) and Secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) Windows-based systems.

"We've already contacted unit information management officers (IMOs) and the Information Technology (IT) workforce, so they are well aware of the migration," said James Elo, an information technology specialist assigned to the 516th Signal Brigade.

"This is an Army-wide deployment," added Elo. "This is a mandated requirement to stay connected to the Pacific Network."

All users who have not migrated to Vista AGM by Dec. 31, 2009, will be removed and blocked from the network in accordance with Department of the Army and U.S. Army-Pacific directives issued in message traffic.

The migration will include all users in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, and Okinawa, as well as all Reserve units that are connected to the domain. Migration will take place on NIPR and SIPR networks.

The Directorate of Information Management (DOIM) in each locale is responsible as the sole provider for Vista AGM images to their supported installations, units or agencies.

Installations, units and agencies are responsible for ensuring that their workstations are base-lined with the Vista version by Dec. 18, 2009.

According to Elo, the migration will be very apparent to all desktop users.

"Users will get a new set of security settings and a new experience on the desktop," he explained, "but basically and, ultimately, the migration is to protect our network.

"Also, the Army has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure certain standards of security were met before we bought off on the new operating system," he added.

Elo emphasized that while the new suite of applications may provide a few challenges as users get used to the new look and feel of Vista AGM, the new system also provides help with the transition.

As with the implementation of any new technology, there will be challenges to overcome - not to mention the change for users who have become comfortable with Windows XP and Office 2003. The new look and feel may take some time to adjust to, Elo said.

DOIMs will provide technical assistance to installations, units and agencies migrating to Vista AGM. DOIMs will also coordinate with supported installations, units and agencies to develop a migration schedule for assisting, duplicating and exchanging hard drives or imaging hard drives for Vista AGM images.

Elo estimated about 18,400 users throughout the Pacific will be affected by the migration, and only users connected to the network Dec. 18 will be using the new Vista AGM operating system.

To ease the transition to the new operating system, users can visit the online training site. Soldiers and employees, who have never used the operating system, can preview it and begin training by visiting and

For more details on the migration and what you can do to prepare, contact your unit IMO.

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