Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 18, 2012 at 3:32am

Airmen can account for family members from their smartphone during a crisis or natural disaster

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Software developers have created a new mobile Web application that allows total force Airmen the ability to account for themselves and family members from their smartphone during a crisis or natural disaster.

During a crisis, the Air Force uses the Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System to account for and assess the needs of the Air Force's Total Force -- active-duty Airmen, selected Reserve members, Department of the Air Force and non-appropriated fund civilian employees, Air Force contractors (assigned overseas) and family members.

AFPAAS becomes operational, or active, at leadership request during crises to allow the total force to account for themselves and their family's safety and whereabouts. Now individuals have improved access through certain smartphones to the accountability and assessment features of AFPAAS.

"The Air Force is taking AFPAAS to the next level to align with what is used in the private sector every day," said Brian Angell, the Air Force Personnel Center Personnel Readiness Cell operations chief. "This wireless capability enhances Air Force accountability during crises and natural disasters."

In the case of an active AFPAAS event, members can use a smartphone to log into the application via their user identification and password. The application is accessible on iPhones, Androids and certain touch-screen Blackberry phones; however it is not available on iPads or non-touch-screen phones.

Once logged in, users can account for themselves and their family members. Other available functions include the ability to update sponsor and evacuation contact and location information as well as complete a needs survey if necessary.

The mobile Web app uses the browser on the phone versus downloading an application and uses the same URL as AFPAAS, said Donna Williamson, the lead developer with SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. The site recognizes the person is using a smartphone and will present the site in a mobile format.

The Air Force recently tested the application and shared their findings with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific, which will make updates and improvements to the application as necessary. As AFPAAS improves, so will the application and functionalities.

Each military service uses their own Department of Defense-funded application to assist with their specific personnel accountability and assessment system during a crisis or natural disaster.

When there is not an on-going event, officials said the total force should keep their contact information updated by logging into the secure AFPAAS website from a personal computer at https://afpaas.af.mil.

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