Revolutionary App: RIO Connect enables access to secured sites from mobile devices

The latest release of the RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app allows Air Force Reservists to use a mobile CAC reader to access secured sites from a mobile device.

The latest release of the RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app allows Air Force Reservists to use a mobile CAC reader to access secured sites from a mobile device.

Citizen Airman/Dec. 2017 -- The latest release of the RIO Connect Individual Mobilization Augmentee Mobile Wingman application 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 stands for the individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. RIO Connect, first launched in February 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, Air Force Reserve Command commander, 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 local communities.

"Air Force Reservists are extremely talented and incredibly busy people," Miller said. "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. However, 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 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, the Air Reserve Component Network, the Individual Medical Readiness/Aeromedical Services Information Management System, myPers and the Volunteer Reserve System.

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

For instructions on setting up the mobile CAC feature, visit the RIO Connect home page at http://www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/HQRIO/RIOConnect.aspx.

The latest release of the RIO Connect app comes after months of collaboration among the Readiness and Integration Organization, Air Reserve Personnel Center and AFRC.

Maj. Robert Hill, an IMA who tested the CAC-enabled beta version of the RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app, said it 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 help others.

“I am already finding that I have a community and am not alone (in my IMA career),” Hill said.

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

Fred Massey, chief of the Plans, Programs and Resources Division in the Directorate of Communications at Headquarters AFRC, 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," Massey said.

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, 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,” Bender said.

(Huffman is assigned to the HQ RIO at Buckley AFB.)