Hidden data opportunities in the Air Force FY22 budget

By Lloyd McCoy, senior market intelligence manager

There are IT opportunities with the Air Force in FY22 that are not apparent at first glance. If your organization handles data hosting, analysis and security, you need to look deeper.

FY22 funding will likely see roughly flat to 2% growth for the Air Force’s budget. As with FY21, which had a total budget of about $8B for IT, the largest concentration of IT dollars next year will go to support command and control and logistics.

Remember, however, that these numbers do not represent the total addressable market for IT. That’s especially true within the R&D portion of the Air Force budget, which emphasizes AI, machine learning systems and unmanned systems, as well as establishing a defendable space posture. There are IT dollars to be spent in those areas even if they may not be counted within a specific IT program.

Let’s look at two of these hidden opportunities.

(1) Leveraging data as a strategic asset

The Air Force wants to evolve the role played by data in everything they do – particularly in the area of predictive analytics. The service wants to find ways to use AI and machine learning for things like maintenance, creating savings to be reallocated elsewhere. Predictive analytics also can be applied to military maneuvers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Data is also part of the Air Force’s “one-stop shops” philosophy. For cloud computing, that means Cloud One; for DevSecOps it’s Platform One; and for digital engineering it’s Weapon One. All of these, especially Cloud One, are fundamental to the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System. ABMS is the branch’s contribution to Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the multi-service concept that links sensors from all the military services into a single network.

Keep in mind that every operational weapon or system will include ongoing requirements for cloud-based AI and data library tools, to analyze and store data from satellites and ground stations, and for security solutions to protect space-based assets

(2) Security and trust

Projected cybersecurity spending for the Air Force is expected to hover at roughly $3B in the next fiscal year. As with FY20 and FY21, trust will be an underlying theme for FY22. Air Force leaders are concerned about the dangers of AI being conducted on compromised data. And because their security budgets have nudged upwards each year, they’ll be willing to hear ideas for better data security.

The Air Force also is placing considerable emphasis on strengthening network defense while increasing visibility and situational awareness. This includes upgrading their base cyber infrastructure, shoring up cyber defenses for their platforms, and adopting tools to improve their understanding of mission system cyber vulnerabilities.

Remember that the Air Force is concerned about cyber weapons as much as traditional weapons systems. Network defense, continuous monitoring, situational awareness and options for offensive operations are becoming top concerns.

How can you help a particular program office accomplish their goals, the goal of the major command they fall under, and the department-level priorities we’ve outlined here? Aligning your solution with their requirements will help your agency prospects justify investments in your solution as they secure funding.

To keep on top of government trends in IT, subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog now.

Interested in learning more on how your company can grow their business in DOD? Connect with immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team today.

This blog was adapted from a commentary originally published in Washington Technology. The original commentary can be found here.

About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is the manager of immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization, leveraging market analysis and purchasing trends to help immixGroup suppliers and partners shorten their sales cycles. He has a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, a M.A. in Public Policy and a B.A. in Political Science, both from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining immixGroup, Lloyd was a senior analyst in the Intelligence Community for eight years, serving in a variety of senior analytic and project management positions in the U.S. and abroad.

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