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NEWS | Jan. 25, 2023

NRC Whidbey Island Sailors demonstrate the new AVD capability

By Cmdr. Nico Melendez, Navy Reserve Region Readiness and Mobilization Command, Everett

Sailors assigned to Navy Reserve Center (NRC) Whidbey Island used newly installed wireless internet to learn about the Navy Reserve’s new Azure Virtual Desktop capability.
According to Cmdr. Dustin Schraud, commanding officer at NRC Whidbey Island, the recent installation of an upgraded system delivers high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity to Sailors, reaching every corner of the NRC.

The installation afforded an opportunity for the NRC to try out a new virtual desktop application.

In fall of 2022, the Navy Reserve introduced the Force to the Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), a capability now available to all Navy Reserve Sailors. AVD is a cloud-based environment allowing access to full Navy Marine Corps Internet (NMCI)-like capabilities on one’s personal device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer.
During a recent visit to Whidbey Island, Force Capt. Christopher Peppel, Navy Reserve Chief Information Officer, demonstrated the new system to Sailors on the NRC’s new WiFi.

“This is going to change the way you work. It is going to allow you to recoup time, it is going to allow you to be more effective, and it is going to allow you to better prepare for drill weekends. This capability is available to you now, and all you have to do is sign up at the link below,” Peppel said, in a video posted to DVIDS Nov. 27.
“This [new capability] was a hidden gem that was unknown to a lot of us, until Captain Peppel came to the NRC and demonstrated it. We were blown away and instantly hooked,” Schraud said. “When he showed us what we can do, I instantly had faster and more assets, because I could tap into my own resources. We are in a secure Flank Speed environment, but we can use our own devices without the frustration of needing a CAC-reader or to be on an [NMCI device].”
The NRC Sailors were excited to learn about and use AVD.
“I only have access to an NMCI machine once a month during drill weekends,” said Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class Brittney James, who recently left active duty and transitioned to the Navy Reserve. “Access provided through the virtual desktop makes my Navy career much easier.”
According to Peppel, AVD is a cloud-based environment approved for all levels of Controlled Unclassified Information (PII, PHI, etc.). It passes through the camera, microphone and CAC-reader of any of one’s personal devices, be it desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone, and will allow you to have full NMCI-like capabilities on your personal device – encryption, decryption, digital signatures, and saving to and downloading from your OneDrive that synchronizes with your NMCI device.

For more on AVD, view the video here: