I recently attended the annual IT summit hosted by the Montgomery AL chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). The event ran from May 21-23, and this year’s theme was “Fostering Joint IT – Air Force’s IT Endgame is the Exploitation of DISA.”
The Department of Defense (DoD) is moving towards a Joint Information Environment (JIE), that creates common infrastructure across all the services. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is at the center leading the initiative to move DoD to the cloud and consolidate data centers in a secure environment. Montgomery is home to the Air Force Business Enterprise Systems (BES) Program Office. BES acquires and sustains many of the business systems the Air Force uses or plans to acquire. These systems include the three large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiatives. BES provided most of the speakers represented. Some of my key takeaways from the conference were:
- The Air Force recognizes they must execute consistently across the enterprise in order to maintain a common infrastructure, develop compatible software applications, deliver and deploy relevant and timely capability, and manage consistent governance. Proactive contractors will educate themselves in these areas and build processes to support them in their DoD projects.
- The Air Force is transforming the existing Systems Engineering Plan (SEP).This important because it changes the way that they acquire and build IT systems. The goal is to deploy system capability within 18 months after the award of the contract. They intend to do this by using principles outlined by the Business Capability Lifecycle (BCL) and the Software Design and Development Process (SDDP); thus the AF will modernize and/or enhance its business systems.
- While focused internally, the Air Force recognizes the need to maintain a Joint focus across all the DoD and also align their efforts across all services.
- There is a long way to go from where they are to where they want to be, but the Air Force and the DoD recognize that they must create compatibility and common governance to fully realize the efficiencies and cost savings they need to achieve.