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Fort Rucker, Fort Monroe etch an NEC success story.

Network Enterprise Centers have been using automated tools to improve productivity for years. Limited resources, increased security requirements, and complex systems have pushed NECs to develop innovative solutions to provide LandWarNet services.

Fort Ruckers Brian Woodall and Shawn Foist maximized the use of Microsoft's Systems Center Configuration Manager 2007, a NETCOM 6+1 tool; to improve security, reduce touch labor, and facilitate the Vista migration. Brian and Shawn spent the last year perfecting their SCCM system, first by identifying SCCM capabilities then by implementing a cost effective solution.

SCCM has allowed Fort Rucker to automate system builds, software installations, operating system updates, and user migrations with almost no IT staff intervention and no elevated privileges for unit information management officers. Staff members explained the deployment process.

"It did not happen overnight," Mr. Woodall said. "We worked for over a year to develop a successful process. Through weeks of intensive research and troubleshooting we found undocumented steps, as well as security patches that were causing the whole process to fail. But we continued to tweak the system until it worked."

After navigating the maze of technical issues Fort Rucker emerged with a simple, efficient solution that allows them to apply patches, group policies, update applications, reimage machines, and migrate user files.

"Our IMOs can do an entire Army Gold Master build on a user's machine by pushing F12 twice," said Mr. Barrett.

The Fort Rucker team is expanding their use of SCCM to include TRADOC classroom image files. If successful, TRADOC Instructors will be able to reimage entire class rooms in minutes rather than the hours it takes today.

Fort Rucker's success story has impacted other NECs as well. Fort Rucker worked with the Fort Monroe NEC to address some of the undocumented problems Fort Monroe encountered in development of their SCCM Vista migration process. Their partnership enabled Fort Monroe users to finalize their solution and enabled Fort Rucker personnel to expand their use of the Microsoft User State Migration tool. Fort Rucker managers published a draft SCCM guide designed to help other NECs to maximize their use of SCCM, and Fort Monroe IT managers have also published helpful tips on using Microsoft USMT 4.0 to reduce network traffic and improve the customer Vista migration experience.

Fort Rucker and Fort Monroe NEC managers' innovation and willingness to share have had a dramatic impact on NEC operations. Because of their efforts, NECs throughout the Global Network Enterprise Construct now have the knowledge to incorporate SCCM into their environments. The 93d Signal Brigade is applauding the Fort Rucker and Fort Monroe NEC managers for their efforts.

Acronym QuickScan

GNEC--Global Network Enterprise Construct

IMO--Information Management Officer

IT--Information Technology

NEC--Network Enterprise Center

SCCM--Systems Center Configuration Manager

TRADOC--U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command

Ronald L. Bowens is an information technology specialist assigned to the Network Enterprise Support Team #1 with the 93d Signal Brigade. He served 10 years in the U.S. Armyas a 25-U.
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Author:Bowens, Ronald L.
Publication:Army Communicator
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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