Like most organizations during the pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is doing things a bit differently this year. Naturally, the agency is leveraging virtual events to increase its engagement with key mission partners, as well as government, industry and academia, including at the annual TechNet Cyber conference, noted Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, DISA’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network (JFHQ-DODIN).
Speed will be the order of the day for military information systems as new technologies incorporate breakthrough innovations. Hardware also will transform as capabilities grow in influence. But above all, the entire defense information system community is undergoing major cultural changes spawned by a combination of innovation and disease.
The U.S. Air Force, led by Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, USAF, the Air Combat Command’s A-6, along with Deputy Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger, is pursuing Operation Flamethrower, an aggressive project to abandon legacy network-related policies, processes or equipment that are not working. The tongue-in-cheek name of the effort is meant to illuminate the nature in which leaders will eliminate ineffective or redundant components in order to drive innovation.
“We are ruthlessly going after these things and setting them on fire,” Knausenberger said.
The new concept of employing computerized modeling and virtualization to the acquisition cycle may provide advanced aircraft more quickly to the U.S. Air Force, said Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF, commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF); Air Component commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; and executive director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The concept can also be applied to communications, sensors and network systems.
The new PACAF commander spoke at a recent Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event.
The U.S. Air Force is preparing to have initial electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, testing by December and a more substantial fielding of an estimated 30 or more eVTOL aircraft by 2023. The service’s Agility Prime program is pursuing a so-called Air Race to Certification, seeking a global advantage in eVTOL, says Col. Nathan Diller, USAF, director, Agility Prime, and director, AFWERX.
Agility Prime is one of three experiments that adds innovation quickly—in addition to Spark and Air Force Ventures—and represents a new approach for the service, Col. Diller says.
The U.S. Air Force is pursuing a bold new strategy of digital transformation across the service’s acquisition lifecycle. Essentially, it is applying electronic systems, known as e-systems, to every part of a weapon’s or system’s acquisition process, including design, engineering, software, manufacturing, testing and sustainment efforts. These so-called digital threads will speed innovation, reduce risks and program costs.
Underpinning any e-system is the digital trinity of digital engineering and management; agile software development; and open architecture, explained Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. And e-systems are so much more than computer-aided design, or CAD.
Over the last year and a half, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Future Capabilities and Innovation Office, or FCI, has iteratively developed a new strategy to drive innovation and collaboration to the agency. The DIA, as the agency is known, is looking to harness artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, counterintelligence tools and other solutions to identify and assess cyber behaviors, among other capabilities. The FCI also must be able to measure the impacts of any solutions.
The U.S. Navy is focusing on parallel development of its new digital assets and capabilities as it works to rush advanced information innovations to the fleet. With the need for better technologies increasing coincidental to the rapidly evolving threat picture, the service has opted for concurrence as its main tool for implementing both upgrades and innovations.
As the Air Force holds its innovation push via AFWERX 2020, an annual event to draw advanced solutions to key challenges, the service is targeting capabilities to improve base facilities and operations via its comprehensive Base of the Future effort.
One of the initial focuses of the Base of the Future effort is to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, explained Brig. Gen. Patrice A. Melançon, USAF, executive director, Tyndall Air Force Base Reconstruction Program Management Office, U.S. Air Force, speaking at last week’s Fusion event hosted by AFWERX.
Entrepreneurs developing lightweight propulsion systems for satellites, cybersecurity for Linux, wireless power and a blockchain application for secure part procurement, among other emerging technologies, presented their technologies to investors, the military and industry. In 10-minute intervals, the company representatives pitched their early stage, aerospace-related technologies at Starburst Accelerator’s third U.S. Virtual Selection Committee meeting on July 9th, which was held virtually. Headquartered in Paris, Starburst's U.S. team brought in the eight hopeful companies, all vying for partnership agreements, venture capitalist funding and a chance to join Starburst's Accelerator Program.
Accenture Federal Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0006); Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0007); Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0008); Digital Mobilizations Inc., Warrenton, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0010); KMPG LLP, McLean, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0009); BCG Federal Corp., Bethesda, Maryland (FA7014-20-D-0005); Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0004); and McKinsey & Co. Inc., Washington, D.C.
With key knowledge of the Army’s necessary sensors, intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities, Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, USA, today steps into the role of Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T. Gen. Collins replaces newly promoted Lt. Gen. David Bassett, USA, who becomes the director of the Defense Contract Management Agency.
JAB Innovative Solutions LLC, Bristow, Virginia, has been awarded an $8,849,120 firm-fixed-price and time and material contract for Defense Innovative Unit (DIU) scientific and technical consulting support services.
The Army is transforming its Cyber Command to meet the challenges of a multidomain battlefield. Just over eight years old, the command, located at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, will evolve by 2028 into something possibly called the Army Information Warfare Operations Command, which will fully incorporate cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.
As the U.S. Air Force is working to define operations on the battlefield of the future, sensors or other digitally connected devices will play a key role—as they always have—but on a much larger scale, one expert says. For the military, the world of Internet of Things, or IoT, has to work across the air, land, space and sea domains. And for the Air Force to enable a greater sensor-based environment, it has to tackle data platforms, cloud storage and capabilities, communication infrastructure and its network, says Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief transformation officer.
A technology that provides network-wide encryption throughout the existence of its information was identified as the winner of the latest AFCEA Innovation Showcase. The competition was the second in a series of individual competitions running into the fall.
NATO is accelerating its efforts to input innovation into its operational capabilities. This effort is aided both by industry and academia and by different nations that bring new technology applications to the alliance table. But even the best ideas are encountering speed bumps, and adversaries are moving quickly to exploit their own technological advances.
Calling it a unique new call to action, the U.S. Air Force is searching for transformational solutions that advance the principles of its Science and Technology 2030 strategy. The service’s effort, called Air Force Explore, is soliciting solutions from interested parties nationwide, according to an Air Force statement.
As the Defense Department’s acquisition and sustainment office works to improve the military’s contracting processes, the research and engineering component—newly separated from acquisition and sustainment in a major reorganization last year—is ready for industry advancements, said Doug Schroeder, DASD Space, Strategic and Intelligence Systems and deputy director, National Intelligence Division, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).