United States Army has more than 700,000 desktops that currently run on Windows XP operating systems and use Office 2003 software. Despite a Windows 7 release just around the corner and rumblings about Office 2010, the Army announced that it will upgrade to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 by the end of this year. Large corporations and government agencies are typically slow to adopt new technologies and software, mostly because of security, hardware and training issues.The
The Army hopes to "bolster Internet security and begin standardization of its information systems" and officials say the initiative "will strengthen Army LandWarNet security by reducing opportunities for hackers to access and exploit government computer systems".
Like most military operations, the transition is very well-planned and strategic. "Classroom computers, dayroom and kiosk computers, new computers (such as life cycle replacement computers) and computers with minimal impact to mission readiness will be part of the initial implementation". Marcus D. Good, Chief of the Army's Information Technology Systems Support Division says, "The Army's mandate is to have 50 percent of all Windows-based systems migrated to Vista by July 31st and 100 percent by the end of the year".
As is the case with any technology changes, there is a certain learning curve that users must overcome. The Army is providing several resources to help its employees and customers through the transition including in-house training sessions, quick-tip handouts and free online training. Since many of the Army's employees already use Vista and Office 2007 in their homes it has shortened the learning curve overall, but for those unfamiliar with the new operating system and software, it has provided two sites, usarmy.skillport.com and train.gordon.army.mil for its employees to preview Vista.