News | Oct. 17, 2017

RIO Connect app revolutionizes access to information

By Senior Master Sgt. Timm Huffman Headquarters Individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization

The latest release of the RIO Connect Individual Mobilization Augmentee Mobile Wingman application now enables Reserve Citizen Airmen to access common access card-secured sites from their mobile devices when paired with a mobile CAC reader and associated software.

RIO Connect, first launched in February 2017 exclusively for IMAs, offers Individual Reservists a mobile-friendly way to access the information they need to manage their careers. Now, with mobile CAC functionality, reservists have the option to use the app to access additional resources like official webmail and human resource-related websites.

Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, Commander of Air Force Reserve Command, said she is excited about new ideas to help meet the unique needs of Reserve Citizen Airmen who are vital to both national defense and the health of their communities.

"Air Force Reservists are extremely talented and incredibly busy people," said Miller. "Innovations like the RIO Connect app provide easier access to the resources they need to maintain combat readiness, reducing the impact their service has on the time they spend with their families, their civilian employers and their communities."

The RIO Connect app is free but to use the optional CAC feature, Citizen Airmen must purchase software and hardware at a cost of $100 to $140.

“Adding the CAC feature to the RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app is another step toward eliminating the barriers Individual Reservists face when managing their careers,” said Col. Minh Tri Trinh, the lead customer advocate for the mobile CAC-enabling project. “Individual Reservists can now have the option to access a host of web and personnel services anywhere, anytime."

Secured sites accessible through the RIO Connect app include webmail, the Reserve Management Vacancy System, ARCNet, IMR/ASIMS medical readiness website, myPers, and the Volunteer Reserve System.

The RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app is available on Google Play and in the Apple App Store.

For instructions on setting up the mobile CAC feature, visit the RIO Connect home page.

The latest release of the RIO Connect application comes after months of collaboration between the Readiness and Integration Organization (RIO), Air Reserve Personnel Center, and Air Force Reserve Command. The app also underwent rigorous testing by the AFRC technology branch (A6), logistics (A4) and operations (A3) directorates, the app’s developer and a group of HQ RIO staff and Individual Reservists.

Maj. Robert Hill, an IMA who tested the CAC-enabled beta version, said the RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app provides a digital community Individual Reservists can lean on for help. The ability to connect with other IMAs, locate resources and access CAC-secured sites in places where Wi-Fi isn’t available allows reservists to be more liquid in their ability to reach out for help and to help others.

“I am already finding that I have a community and am not alone [in my IMA career],” he added.

Hill said his favorite app feature was “the ability to check my military email during lunch at my civilian job, without lugging my laptop around looking for Wi-Fi."

Fred Massey, the AFRC/A6 Directorate Chief of Plans, Programs and Resources Division, said collaborating with HQ RIO on the mobile CAC feature energized conversations about mobile technologies.

"The ability to embed secured CAC access into the RIO Connect app has stimulated mobile conversations and paved the way for the Air Force Reserve to cross the mobile barrier toward expansive and exciting future mobile opportunities," said Massey.

In addition to testing the software for functionality, the team also reviewed the relative mobile-friendliness of each website the RIO Connect app accesses, ensuring the options available to reservists are both useful and functional on a mobile device.

Innovation is an integral part of the Air Force Reserve’s future, and it comes from the diverse experiences the nearly 70,000 Citizen Airmen bring to the mission from various communities and industries across the nation, said Col. Bruce Bender, the AFRC Director of Public Affairs. He added the mobile-CAC capability will change the way reservists do business.

“This tool will provide ease of access, flexibility, streamlined workflow and reduced response time for time-sensitive information,” said Bender.

Disclaimer: Information presented here does not constitute an endorsement of third-party companies, specific product or software, nor indicate any connection between HQ RIO, The United States Air Force, or Department of Defense, and the product or company represented herein. The appearance of any hyperlinks or reference to commercial applications does not constitute endorsement by the HQ RIO, the United States Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external Web site, or the information, products or services contained therein. Links and information are provided consistent with the stated purpose of the Web site.