Several White Sands Missile Range organizations have or will migrate to NIPRnet connectivity within the oncoming months.
Brian Kessel, Network Enterprise Center deputy director at Fort Bliss, Texas, said the migration is based on an agreement between the Army Test and Evaluation Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Daniel Karbler, and the 7th Signal Command Theater Commanding General, Maj. Gen. John Baker in an effort to provide baseline Information Technology services throughout the Army. Kessel said it is important to understand the needs of each organization before conducting the migration.
“It’s a discovery process,” Kessel said. “We’re meeting with the leadership from each organization, making sure we understand their requirements.”
Currently these organizations are using what is known as a WSMRnet connectivity, a network specific to WSMR which is connected to the Defense Research and Engineering Network. The migration to the NIPRnet will bring the workforce within those organizations in line with Army’s standard unclassified and For Office Use Only communication network.
“These organizations are moving to the same network their counterpart organizations across the Army are using,” Kessel said.
Once the migration is complete, the users within the organizations will need to call a new Service Desk for desktop issues. The users will call the Army Enterprise Service Desk directly at 866-335-ARMY.
Only the users who migrate to the NIPRnet will use the new number, users who stay on the WSMRnet will continue to use the local service desk. Kessel said there will be three dedicated desktop support staff stationed here at WSMR by Dec. 1 to provide direct assistance with any issues.
The migration will only affect non-Army Test and Evaluation Command organizations. The Post Chapel computers have already been migrated, and the schedule for migrating the remaining organizations will be finalized by a combined team of Fort Bliss and WSMR IT professionals. The organizations waiting to be migrated, in addition to Garrison organizations, are the WSMR Logistics Readiness Center, the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and the Mission and Installation Contracting Command. Kessel said the meetings with the leadership continue this week and he and his team hope to have the migration completed before Christmas. However, he said the migration could be completed sooner than that with help from the users.
He said the workforce within those organizations waiting to be migrated can take some steps to help speed up and streamline the migration process. A recurring occurrence that Kessel said has slowed down the migration process before, is when users have large PST files. PST files contain old e-mails that users tend to keep forever, Kessel said. He asks the workforce to consider cleaning out old data or look at file shares to save important files and delete files they no longer need.
“When these file shares get very large they present a challenge in the migration process. It speeds the process up if we can reduce that data footprint,” he said.
WSMR Information Management Directorate Director Mark Tubbs said though the NIPRnet is not compatible with the network he and his team use, they will do everything they can to assist Kessel and his team to help them succeed.
“We’re going to support them however we can.”