ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE REPORT
(as presented to the National Executive Board on July 14, 1997)
For NARFENetters: H.R. 2003, the Barton-Minge Bill, which would have set
entitlement caps and provide for a resumption of sequestration procedures,
was soundly defeated (347-81) on the House floor on Wednesday, July 23,
1997. This proposed legislation was the subject of NARFE President
Jackson's letter to Congressional Representatives which was sent you
7/18/97 and the TROA (Reserve Officer's Assoc.) report sent you 7/19/97 -
Attached is the full text of the report that was presented to the NARFE
National Executive Board on July 14, 1997. It is in standard ascii format
that should be compatible with most wordprocessors. After presentation to the
Board, Regional Field Vice President Al Hippert made the motion "97-07-05
that the conceptual recommendations made by the NARFE-Netter Committee be
approved and implemented as and when possible." The motion was seconded and
It seems that the NARFE-net is here to stay and NARFE Headquarters will
continue to move forward using electronic communications.
(Hurrah! --Russ Boor)
National President Jackson appointed this Committee in late May, 1997, to
peruse the parameters of a NARFE rapid communication system. This
Committee was commissioned to make recommendations for the establishment
of the necessary hardware, software and operating procedures, both for
NARFE Headquarters and for field activities. It must be remembered that
the entire communication system and this report are in a continuously
evolving environment and rapid evolutionary changes are inevitable, in
fact, desirable. We must not place ourselves in a position of a cast-in-
This Committee's first order of business was to determine the goals for
"short-term", "mid-term" and "long-term" implementation. "Short-term"
being those things that can and should be implemented now prior to our
moving to a new headquarters building; "mid-term" being those things
which could and should be accomplished in conjunction with the move and
shortly thereafter; "long-term" being very desirable items which are
impractical for immediate implementation but certainly should be
considered downstream in the not too distant future, say within five
years or the year 2002.
The Committee interviewed all ROs, department managers and many staff
members to compile a list of just where NARFE stands today. In summary,
the results obtained are:
- In just two short years the NARFE-net has grown from nothing to a
membership of over 1,000 with members in 47 states. It is conservatively
estimated that over 40,000 members (1 percent of total membership) have
computers and are on line.
- Fourteen Federations have established NARFE-nets at the state
- At least two Federations have published their own NARFE web page on
the internet and others have approval.
- At least eight chapters have published their own NARFE web page.
- NARFE headquarters has established eight internet connections with
capability for two-way e-mail communication and access to the world wide
- NARFE has obtained a registered domain (NARFE.org) with the
internet and published a web page that has been visited by almost 45,000
persons since September 30, 1995.
- The use of PCs (personal computers) at headquarters has expanded
from 3 or 4 to more than 25.
- Six of the ten National Regional Field Vice-Presidents became
BY YEAR 2002:
Using their expertise and experience, the Committee members closely
examined a crystal ball to develop a set of expectations and goals that
can be achieved by the year 2002, using currently existing commercially
available technology and software. In a short five years NARFE will see:
- Nine of ten chapters represented by an NARFE-net liaison member.
- Almost every newsletter editor becoming a member of the NARFE-net.
- Three-fourths of all Federations having published NARFE web pages.
- One-fourth of all Chapters having published NARFE web pages.
- Fifty "On-line Chapters" being chartered.
- NARFE-net membership grow to more than 5,000.
- Electronic publishing of Chapter and Federation newsletters will be
- Expansion of the NARFE-net, a two way communication tree that
extends from NARFE headquarters thru Regions, Federations and Chapters to
- A weekly NARFE newsletter published on-line, distributed thru the
NARFE-net with inputs from all departments at NARFE headquarters.
- NARFE's web site brought in-house and its capability expanded to:
- Allow payment of all membership fees on-line
- Provide downloading, completion and submission of forms on-line
- Provide controlled access of NARFE membership data base, NARFE
publications such as Retirement Life, research of NARFE legislative data
- Contain hyper-links to Federation and Chapter web sites
To implement and accomplish a plan toward the attainment of the above
goals and take advantage of the unique opportunity created by NARFE's
pending and almost imminent move to a new headquarters, a plan of action
must be quickly developed and approved. There is no time left to put off
a decision or this unique cost savings opportunity will be lost.
SHORT TERM ACTION ITEMS
- Recruit and hire a Systems Administrator/Webmaster.
- Immediately bring Legislative and Service Departments on-line to
provide training lead time prior to move to new building.
- Establish and prioritize requirements for both intranet and
- Define system requirements including planned expansion to insure
future goals and needs can be met without expensive modification of
equipment or its replacement. This includes building layout, optimizing
equipment location, cabling upgrades, purchase of new equipment, etc.
- The intranet/internet system needs to be installed, inspected
and tested before NARFE personnel occupy the new building. Prior to the
move, personnel also need to be trained in the use of new equipment.
- A Budget must be determined and approved.
- Written procedures need to be developed on how the equipment will
be used for electronic communication, both internally and external to
headquarters. These procedures should be tested using present equipment
and internet connections.
MID-TERM ACTION ITEMS:
- In conjunction with occupation of the new building, all Resident
Officers, Office Manager and Department Heads, and others as required,
have immediate access to the intranet and internet services such as the
worldwide web and e-mail.
- Establish requirements on a need to know basis with associated
access codes for those on the intranet when interrogating any other
computer on the intranet for required information. It is understood
personnel and some fiscal files must be protected and therefore require
- Give the responsibility and authority to the System
Administrator/Webmaster to exercise necessary coordination including
configuration control of the intranet, internet, e-mail procedures and
NARFE web site. Correspondence e-mail should be sent to individual
departments and handled by that department. Each department should be
responsible for establishing their own e-mail correspondence log. The
field will require a set of simple instructions on the proper protocol to
be used when communicating by with NARFE headquarters by e-mail. E-mail
correspondence should be treated in a very similar manner as all other
types of communication systems. As with postal mail, correspondence
e-mail must be prioritized and distributed with urgent items handled in
an urgent fashion and routine items handled in like routine manner.
- Establish direct field activity access to the Headquarter's
electronic files and data bases on a need-to-know basis. Much information
for the field could be available in areas such as Membership, Service and
National Legislation, that could be directly accessed and downloaded
without the need to employ headquarter's personnel in the process. This
obviously would save time, money, postage costs, telephone costs and
frustration and would be highly desirable. For example, many of the
frequently used forms could be kept updated on a Headquarters computer or
on the website and when required by someone in the field, simply be
downloaded and copied and/or filled out and even immediately submitted by
electronic means back to headquarters. Those forms that come immediately
to mind are the F-7, F-7A, F-14, F-18, F-83, F-84 and others.
- Assuming the new building does not have fiber optic cabling
installed for intranet connections, and again assuming the building was
wired to existing construction codes requiring rigid conduits,
consideration should be given to replacing existing intranet cabling in
a time phased basis with fiber optics cabling.
Additional comments and more detailed information is included in the
attachment to this report.
This report is not meant to be neither inclusive nor complete. It is
strongly recommended that the combined knowledge, expertise and ingenuity
of NARFE management and staff be sought thru their active participation
in the planning and execution of any electronic communication plan
including the use of e-mail, the intranet and web site.
The expertise of individual members of the committee will continue to be
available as needed to provide advice and answer questions. We are as
close as your e-mail connection
Elton "Al" Hippert - Chairman
Russell Boor - Member
E. Lee Gross - Member
ATTACHMENT TO ECC REPORT dated July 14, 1997
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The members of the committee want to thank all the Officers, Department
Managers and the staff that so graciously took time out of their busy
schedules to share their ideas and concerns with us. It was very obvious
that almost everyone at NARFE headquarters is enthusiastic about the
pending move into a new building and the prospect of having access to a
modern computer controlled communications system that will also tie them
with members in the field.
Headquarters - web site
- The web site should be under the direct management control of the
- The Systems Administrator/Webmaster should be a separate function
under the guidance and direction of the Office Manager.
- All departments should have equal access to the web site via the
Webmaster. All files submitted for loading on the web site should have
the name of the originator attached and approval of at least the
- Web site updates should be made whenever events warrant.
Note: The present web page must be modified as appropriate, i.e. -
drop all obsolete segments. The data on the Houston Convention, L.A.
Times pick and the Off Budget bill from the last year's Congress are
- All posted items, such as the "Hotline", should be as short and
concise as possible. Redundant statements, required times for
downloading, etc will be eliminated. A comment - this practice should
also be practiced for the telephone "Hotline" weekly message.
- All website articles should be dated on the index line as to date
- NARFE perks with details could be posted on NARFE's web site for
external viewing and downloading. However, NARFE should be careful and
not end up subsidizing an essentially free web site for contractors. It
would be better for NARFE's web page to contain hyper-links to affinity
- Any controversy that develops over use of the web site should be
resolved by the cognizant Resident Officer.
Headquarters - Intranet
- All departments should file germane data in the Intranet server,
such as forms, informational data, and other as deemed appropriate. A
need to know, encryption and required access codes for access to some
data should be established, i.e. fiscal data, membership lists etc.
- All departments and most staff should have the required hardware
and software to accommodate intranet operations as well as access to
internet web and e-mail operations.
- All departments and most staff should be provided training under
the guidance of the Systems Administrator to insure proficiency in use of
the intranet, e-mail and use of the web.
- Headquarters should continue to actively support and publicize the
NARFE-net and web site.
- Headquarters should continue to use the NARFE-net to transmit
information to Federations, Chapters and members on-line.
Headquarters - e-mail
- All headquarters departments should have independent e-mail
addresses, publish those addresses on all media and be available for two
way communications via e-mail.
- Departments should log e-mail and respond to the originator -
either with an answer or an acknowledgement of receipt and an estimated
answer date - any delay beyond seven calendar days should be justified.
- E-mail misaddressed and received by one department that requires
redirection to another department should be redirected using e-mail.
- E-mail which can be answered immediately when first viewed on the
screen should be so done. It should not be necessary to log those
messages unless their importance so dictates.
- Messages of a general nature and not identified as a specific
department problem should be acknowledged, logged and answered.
- E-mail which involves one or more of the Resident Officers should
be logged and placed in a reading file and rotated daily thru the ROs. An
action officer should be assigned. The log will list received date and
answered date. - Any delay beyond seven calendar days will be justified.
- Receipt of all e-mail without the sender's name and complete snail-
mail address will be acknowledged by return e-mail with the request that
the missing information be supplied by return e-mail.
Note: E-mail must take its place alongside all other communication
methods and be handled in the same manner. If an item is priority - so be
it and answer immediately. If routine the answer must of necessity be
answered in its proper order along with all other types of
Field - e-mail
- Field activities, Federations, Chapters and Members must also play
their part in an orderly e-mail system. When sending e-mail to NARFE
headquarters, the field should:
- NARFE headquarters should prepare as soon as possible, a set of e-
mail procedures for both internal use and field use. It is recommended
that draft field procedures be forwarded by e-mail to the NARFE-net
Coordinators for comment. The final field procedures should be published
on the NARFE web site and included in the "Welcome to the NARFE-net" e-
mail message sent to new NARFE-netters by the NARFE-net Coordinator. The
new procedures should also contain a list of all the e-mail addresses at
NARFE headquarters with a short description of what kind of e-mail should
be directed to them.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON MAJOR STEPS REQUIRED PRIOR TO MOVE TO NEW BUILDING
- The success of the Electronic Communication Plan requires IMMEDIATE
decisions concerning core intranet equipment features for short-term goal
implementation. These decisions must also facilitate, rather than
preclude, development/expansion options in realizing 5-year plan goals.
- These decisions will be the basis for developing system and
equipment specifications for purchase and installation prior to the move
into the new building.
- Immediate decisions are needed concerning the technical
- The File Server, which will:
- Operate and control the intranet and intranet system
- Control the electronic storage and retrieval of data files
- Provide for electronic backup of files
- Contain the network manager software using Windows NT
operating system software, both of which are commercially available and
- Provide uninterruptible system power with conditioning
features that protects system from loss of data and operating time.
- The Gateway, which will manage and control external and internal
system communications connected to:
- The Internet World Wide Web, FTP (file transfer protocol),
- The dedicated phone line to ISI.
- The Intranet (Internal headquarters interoffice and
interpersonal communications.) - formerly known as (THE LAN)
- There is also an immediate and on-going long term need to provide
officers and staff with training in system and software use by means of
videos, tutorials, in-house classes and vendors. Arrangements and conduct
of training should to the responsibility of the Systems Administrator.
Training should also include hands-on experience in using the new
equipment and software programs to allow familiarization and confidence
in their use. It is very important that training begin prior to move into
the new building.
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