New mobile app enables, engages, empowers Airmen
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs , April 11, 2019
ARLINGTON, Va (AFNS) — The Air Force now has an enterprise-wide mobile app designed to provide Airmen with streamlined access to information they need for their lives and careers.
Air Force Connect was one of six ideas to compete as a finalist in the 2018 Spark Tank competition, which provided the authority and funding to launch the app Air Force-wide. The app is designed to offer Air Force organizations at all levels a way to deliver timely and relevant information to Airmen, their families and members of the local community. The app is now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Airmen can access local content by adding their unit as a “Favorite” within the Air Force Connect app. To access the Favorites portal, Airmen tap the icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the app, where they’ll be presented with a list of all available units. Once added, users can swipe left and right from the home screen to access their saved local content. Currently, there are about 100 units in the Favorites portal; more are being added each week. If a desired unit is not available, contact the local public affairs office.
Each Favorite is a full-featured mobile app, or sub-app, that resides entirely within the Air Force Connect platform. This consolidation allows Airmen to download one app, regardless of where their Air Force job or career takes them, instead of downloading multiple apps for different home-station or TDY locations.
The Air Force Connect app and all sub-apps offer a variety of features designed to engage Airmen and reduce reliance on traditional computers to access career and other personnel resources. Popular features include Directory, Checklists, Groups, Polling, Events, PFT Calculator and Notifications. All features can be customized at the local level to meet specific needs.
“Airmen are constantly on the go and their computing needs are no longer tied to a desktop computer or a laptop,” said Col. Minh Tri Trinh, who is leading the effort to deploy the app. “We believe Air Force Connect, and its future iterations will continue to be transformative, delivering on the promise of convenience and the power of technology, now and into the future.”
A number of other Air Force entities are looking at how to leverage the app, including Air Force Services, Air Force Recruiting and the Key Spouse Program, all of which will have in-app features available at various levels throughout the app.
Mobile Common Access Card
In addition to the various content available within the primary app and the multiple sub-apps, the Air Force Connect team is currently beta testing mobile CAC functionality. This feature would allow Airmen to pair their device with a mobile CAC reader to access some CAC-secured sites, such as:
• Air Force Portal
• Defense Travel System (DTS)
• Webmail (iOS currently unable to access Air Force webmail)
• Air Force Reserve Command Network (ARCNet)
• Volunteer Reserve System
• Reserve Management Vacancy System
• Virtual Personnel Center (vPC)
Spark Tank authorized funding to purchase several thousand mobile CAC readers. The readers are being distributed across the total force as the app is deployed to individual units. Later this year, the Air Force Connect team will use information from the beta test to make a recommendation to Air Force technology leaders about long-term viability. Complete instructions on the required hardware and how to use this advanced feature are available within the CAC Feature’s “Help” section.
How can I bring USAF Connect to my unit?
The Air Force Connect team is actively soliciting units that would like to bring mobile CAC capabilities to their location.
The app provides local organizations with a powerful tool to distribute command information without any added cost or need for contracting. All features can be customized to meet the needs of local audiences, making the app a powerful and flexible tool for delivering information to Airmen.
The Air Force Connect app is generally available to any wing-level or above organization with a public affairs office. Those interested in adopting the platform should visit the Air Force Connect SharePoint site and fill out the “Request App” form.