HomeNewsArticle Display

50th SCS pioneers AF Standard Desktop

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 50th Space Communications Squadron here is spearheading development of the Air Force Standard Desktop Configuration, which will strengthen network defenses on all Air Force active-duty, Reserve and Guard installations in 2006 and may become a part of an approved configuration for all federal government PCs. 

“Schriever was selected because we knew (Air Force Space Command) and you in turn had best practices that could be adopted as Air Force enterprise-wide practices and solutions,” said Kenneth Heitkamp, associate director for life cycle management at the Operations and Sustainment Systems Group at Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex, Ala.

The Standard Desktop Configuration allows local area network users to accomplish their mission while limiting attackers’ ability to cause damage to the network, said Lt. Col. Mark “Doc” Langenderfer, 50th SCS commander.

Tighter desktop settings prevent users from installing unapproved software and provides greater security than the thousands of personal configurations that currently exist, Colonel Langenderfer said.

It also helps the Air Force realize its vision of quickly responding to network vulnerabilities as they are discovered, he added.

“The bottom-line goal (of the Standard Desktop Configuration) is to provide more security to the net-centric environment that has become increasingly vital to U.S. and coalition warfighters’ successes,” he said.
OSSG employees, including Mr. Heitkamp and Microsoft contractors, visited Schriever in November to review Schriever’s progress in testing the Standard Desktop configuration.

“The reason (OSSG) came here is because we are the most advanced in this environment,” said Ralph Thomas, Schriever LAN manager.

Mark Reid, 50th SCS LAN management lead, and Larry Roberts, a network administrator with 50th SCS, first developed a desktop management strategy in October 2003, said Mr. Thomas.

“(OSSG) picked it up and asked us how we could implement it across the Air Force,” said Richard Simmons, Schriever LAN chief.

The Standard Desktop is a specific configuration within a network environment for PCs that provides all PCs with the same level of protection. It will include security measures built into Windows such as Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Firewall. Schriever was the first base in the Air Force to activate Service Pack 2’s firewall on all base PCs, said Colonel Langenderfer.

The diligence of the Standard Desktop Configuration team in overcoming technical challenges will ensure an easier transition in 2006 to stronger network security for Air Force personnel around the world, Colonel Langenderfer said.

Other federal government agencies can use the Standard Desktop after the Air Force finishes testing and service leaders approve implementation.