The 3 DOD trends you need to know

Stephanie MeloniBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant, and Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

As we prepare for the Department of Defense FY18 budget briefing we’ll deliver at this year’s Government IT Sales Summit, we’ve been able to take a step back and look across the DOD to identify department-wide trends, initiatives and happenings.

Several are jumping out, driven by a fairly new administration and an updated National Defense Authorization Act.

Here are three trends to consider if you sell or want to sell technology to the DOD.

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A continuing resolution is inevitable. Here’s what you need to do

continuing resolution, install base, federal government, budgetBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant

There’s a strong possibility of beginning FY18 under a continuing resolution (CR), so technology companies doing business in the public sector need to be aware of how this will impact sales. Since a CR keeps the government funded at the previous year’s budget, this will mean no new program starts or capital expenditures. The government is basically funding itself to keep the lights on and performing last year’s mission.

CRs have become more and more common in recent years, however, the next CR we face may be longer than most, as experts say it may need to extend into December.

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What you need to know about changes at Air Force Space Command

Stephanie Meloni_65x85By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

More big changes may beOrbital view on Earth from space coming to the Department of Defense outside of CYBERCOM’s anticipated elevation to its own Combatant Command.

Late last month, the House Armed Services Committee voted to move forward with their own version of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would create a new military branch—the “Space Corps.” This would create a sixth military branch that would be solely responsible for combat in space.

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One of the fastest growing IT trends at Air Force

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

The Air Force has begun piloting agile methodology in some of its key programs, and we can expect to see this as a growing trend throughout the service and the rest of the Department of Defense, as agile methodology adoption picks up based on acquisition guidance.

The main theme of the AFCEA Montgomery IT Summit (MITS) was using agile development to help the Air Force make data-driven decisions. The service views its data as a strategic asset and leaders point to using data to facilitate decisions that will outsmart adversaries as part of the Third Offset Strategy.

The Program Executive Officer of the Business and Enterprise Systems (PEO BES) office, Rich Aldridge, kicked off the conference by speaking about the challenges that his organization faces when it comes to systems development, which has led the Air Force down the path of using agile development to counter cost, schedule and risk as a way forward.

Here are just a few key priorities the Air Force will be examining as it works to make its software systems more agile:

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Is IT modernization on the horizon?

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

With lawmakers voting later this week on the $1 trillion bipartisan budget deal, the battle over funding for the remainder of FY17 may be settled fairly peacefully.

If this omnibus passes, it will largely spare civilian agencies from deep cuts in funding. It also includes some interesting features technology companies will want to take note of that will impact IT budgets and priorities.

The omnibus includes no funding for the construction of a border wall but does include $1.5 billion for border security measures, which would include infrastructure and surveillance technologies. This will create opportunities around the internet of things (IoT)—collecting, integrating, securing, storing and analyzing relevant surveillance data. Getting involved early with IoT opportunities will be important as adoption picks up down the line and will give companies with solutions a chance to cite and build upon previous successes.

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What you need to know about Army’s IT modernization strategy

By Stephanie Meloni, senior consultant

The Army views multi-domain operations as the future operating concept it needs to gain a competitive advantage against adversaries.

Despite the possibility of receiving increased funding under a new administration, the Army will largely be focused on readiness, as opposed to modernization. Readiness ensures that soldiers have proper training and equipment, while modernization would mean investing in new capabilities and technologies.

The good news for the IT industry is that multi-domain operations is a concept that addresses both modernization and readiness. And it will ultimately help the warfighter out-maneuver adversaries in land, cyber and intelligence. (You can hear more in my recent on-demand webinar on the Army’s IT Modernization Plan.)

Implementing multi-domain operations will entail significant changes to enterprise architecture and networking infrastructure to give the Army the flexibility it needs when it comes to configuration management and data sharing. This concept is all about data integration—and performing analysis on the data itself. Here are some ways the Army will be using its data to improve operations:

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DOD and IoT: 2 ways industry can help right now

Stephanie Meloni_65x85By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

If you’ve been attending industry events and keeping up with the news, you’ve surely been hearing buzz about the internet of things (IoT).

And if the DOD is part of your sales territory, you’re probably hearing how important it is to get IoT right, particularly when it comes to securing connected devices. But there hasn’t been a lot of action behind those words.

Many civilian agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce have already released strategic documents and plans for IoT, but the Department of Defense has yet to release an official strategy.

Even so, government customers across DOD are giving thought as to how to handle IoT, and in some ways, are already implementing projects. So how can technology companies get involved as this trend continues to pick up steam?

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