Commercial Internet Solution for Gunter-Annex Program Developers

  • Published
  • By MSgt Gary Edwards

MAXWELL AFB-GUNTER ANNEX, Ala -- The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Business and Enterprise Systems (BES) is currently collaborating with industry partners to provide a commercial wireless internet solution to its collection of program engineers that are working multiple applications leveraged by personnel across the Air Force.

In 2021, members of AFLCMC stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, began working on a more streamlined Authorization to Operate (ATO) process for commercial internet service provider (CISP) requests, aiming to cut the time for approving these requests from years to months. This new process allowed the Operations, Plans, and Resources Branch of the BES Operations Division the means needed to leverage providers in the area and begin the process of bringing commercial services into the facilities where it is needed most.

These services are expected to provide engineers in the Technical and Financial Services divisions the ability to develop within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and CloudOne environments, as well as access commercial development software that is not authorized on the Air Force Network (AFNET).

Previously these capabilities were provided by the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN), but the need to reduce costs across portfolios led to the decommissioning of the DREN. This new solution aims to return those capabilities to the hands of BES engineers at a fraction of the cost. Initial estimates put the cost to install and run the network for two buildings at roughly $55,000 annually, a fraction of $2,000,000 price tag the DREN carried in its final year of use.

In addition to the functionality this network brings to program engineers, the Air Force’s software factory, BESPIN, is also looking to leverage this new capability. The building considered to be the on-base home to the Air Force’s experts in development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) is included in the initial installation plan for what has been penned as the BES Commercial Network, or BESCNET for short.

The initial installation of BESCNET will include over 30 access points across the two facilities, providing network access to over 50 users across multiple programs. Additional facilities are expected to install BESCNET with additional ATOs to be submitted as requirements materialize.

The BES Operations, Plans, and Resources Branch can be reached at