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NEWS | Aug. 8, 2014

Deactivation marks end of information era at AFRS

By Annette Crawford Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs

Air Force Recruiting Service marked the end of an era July 21 when its data information system was powered down in a ceremony. The Air Force Recruiting Information Support System - Legacy, or AFRISS-L, had been the system of record for AFRS since May 3, 1999.


Doing the honors of deactivating was Brig. Gen. John Horner. It was one of the last official acts for the Air Force Recruiting Service commander, who relinquished command July 25 after his promotion ceremony to major general. He is now deputy director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir, Va.


AFRISS-L was designed to assist recruiters in accessioning qualified people into the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard. It provided the ability to conduct interviews, manage leads/applicants, produce activity and management reports, provide decision support and allow management to review and process applicant case files before entering active duty.


AFRISS was initially proposed in 1997 as a Y2K solution to the aging PROMIS II system. While its debut in 1999 was less than spectacular, it did live up to expectations with no Y2K compatibility issues.


However, an unlikely glitch occurred. While management and technicians were busy working on information system capability, no one thought about the Y2K compatibility of the facilities. The single failure in the operation was the cypher lock to the server room which was not Y2K compatible, so a technician had to break into the room through the ceiling to access the equipment and confirm proper operation.


Another challenge that AFRISS-L encountered was also a facility issue. Civil engineers had installed a chilled water air handler in the attic directly above the computer room. The dehumidifier drain wasn't cleaned often enough, which caused water to back up and settle through cracks into the ceiling tiles directly above the main production equipment racks.


When the ceiling tiles eventually gave way, the water dumped onto the two most important racks of equipment - three times. The drenchings caused more than $2 million in damages to equipment, but data was safe due to the "hot standby" database that prevented any loss. After the final leak happened Oct. 24, 2012, several preventative measures were put in place to avoid another one.


AFRISS-L housed 26 databases on an AFRS-managed network domain, and was comprised of 17 database servers, more than 70 application servers, seven tape libraries, and more than 110 terabytes of disk storage.


The AFRISS-L system served 4,300 users and exchanged data with many other Department of Defense and federal government systems to largely automate all recruiting, security clearance, job match, training and payroll processes plus make marketing much more effective. During its 15 years of service, AFRISS-L processed approximately 500,000 new accessions; more than 1.5 million applicant records have been entered into the system.


Earlier in 2014, AFRISS-L data was exported and migrated to its successor - AFRISS-Total Force. This information system is now housed in the Defense Information Systems Agency cloud.


AFRISS-TF was mandated by Air Staff to consolidate all Air Force recruiting - active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve - into a single information system. AFRISSTF is built on an entirely different architecture, including hardware, operating system and application software, but it retains all the capabilities of its predecessor.


"The process of bringing the finest candidates available into the United States Air Force hasn't changed," said Lt. Col. Gary Gabriel, chief, AFRS Information Systems Division. "Now recruiters from all three components have a state-of the-art system to continue doing just that."