Automation and Cybersecurity Take Center Stage in Air Force FY15 IT Modernization Priorities

Stephanie Headshot 65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Last week, key Air Force Fighter Jetleaders engaged with industry at AFCEA NOVA’s Air Force IT Day to speak about opportunities and challenges their organizations are facing, and where they need industry support. The Air Force is the only one of the military services to request an increase in their IT budget for FY15; within their $5.9B request for FY15, about $2.3B is earmarked for capital expenditures for the Air Force to purchase new technologies and capabilities. This shows their commitment to focus on more innovative solutions that meet challenges they face every day. The Air Force wants to be able to incorporate more emerging technologies into their operations and leverage inputs from experts in industry, academia, and the rest of DOD.

Since Air Force’s main priority for FY15 is IT modernization, they’re going to want to spend theirs IT dollars on either technologies that will help them save money on operations —which allows them to divert funds to modernization efforts — or technologies that will help drive new and innovative capabilities.

Here are a two areas where COTS vendors can come into play:

Automation

The Air Force will be looking for cutting-edge data automation solutions to help generate cost savings in their enterprise operations — think: managing help desk tickets and IT systems. The Air Force is also interested in automation solutions for helping them fuse data together in the battlefield. Leveraging automation in warfighting operations can help them enable better tactical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) by bringing together data from all sources, including targeting and analysis.

Along with data automation, the Air Force will be exploring ways where they can migrate to open architecture so that they can seamlessly ingest data from all of the sources necessary to advance their mission. This would help them particularly in tactical operations and ISR — allowing them to integrate new technologies into operations affordably and quickly.

Cybersecurity

Improvements to the cyberspace domain will be key to the Air Force’s IT modernization; they’re looking to form a cyber task force from academia, other military services and industry in the next few months, to help diagnose the AF’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities and come up with a strategy to remedy them. They will also need to solve the problem of balancing defensive and offensive cyber operations. Expect their near-term priority to focus on defensive cyber capabilities. They are working to identify where the biggest vulnerabilities are and will be looking to innovative technologies to help them secure networks and sensitive data.

Affordability is the cornerstone in all technologies the Air Force purchases — even for modernization technologies. The Air Force has realized the need for them to push for new and innovative solutions, however, they will still need to balance technological advancements with making incremental improvements as they work to stay within budgets. The Air Force is looking to new technologies to help make them become strategically agile, and will be counting on industry to help them incorporate new and innovative commercial solutions into current operations.

One Response to Automation and Cybersecurity Take Center Stage in Air Force FY15 IT Modernization Priorities

  1. Tom Ryan says:

    Thanks for covering the AFCEA NOVA Air Force IT Day. Tom Ryan – Chapter President, AFCEA NOVA

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