Air Force aims for an enterprise information system

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The US Air Force will fly in a different kind of cloud as it develops its computer systems. Its Cloud One system will be at the heart of providing access to vital information to all members of the Air Force and Space Force in multi-domain operations.

US Air Force Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger described the Air Force’s future information environment at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter Rocky Mountain Cyberspace Symposium to be held March 8-11 in both virtually and at Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She indicated that many elements will have to materialize, including better cybersecurity training, for this new business information system to realize its full potential.

“We are at an inflection point with our air and space forces,” Knausenberger said, resorting to cinematic analogies. “We are all ready for the next frontier, but we are often stuck in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We’ve all chosen the wrong fit when it comes to acquisition.

Knausenberger said the Air Force must be able to pivot in purchasing capabilities. “We are entering a world of stable or declining budgets,” she noted. “The business world spends more on its digital infrastructure because it knows that future competitiveness depends on it. In the absence of this capability, the Air Force must be able to procure new communications and information technologies wisely and quickly.

The emerging enterprise information technology structure will provide the data staff need while helping to develop a data strategy, she said. The data will power a stack of artificial intelligence. Ultimately, every aviator and guard will be able to write code with access to training-quality data.

With Cloud One, the Air Force hopes to have a “huge enterprise service” that staff can use every day, she suggested. All public websites and portal are hosted on Cloud One. Yet the Air Force still has to make sure that people are using the cloud effectively.

Some aviators operate the AWS cloud separately, and that needs to change. “We still have some work to do to say, ‘Hey, why aren’t they in Cloud One? How are we not meeting your needs today? ‘

“We should be able to go to the Cloud One website and click,” she said.

Part of this effort will be to simplify the information infrastructure. Too often people use different means to search for information where they should instead be able to make one-stop shopping, and this also applies to support activities. “Our airmen and guards need to innovate on things that have already been done time and time again,” she said. “They have to rebuild software that already exists commercially; they’re rebuilding software that another unit also created — or maybe it’s software that 10 different units created. They can’t always find each other.

The new business will provide access to the necessary business tools. A mission app store will also serve Airmen and Guardians. And Cloud One will do it for the non-development community.

“In the last 10 years we haven’t really been a company,” said Knausenberger. “We were groups of people who had to solve our problems independently. We appreciate that… but what we really need to do is value this teamwork by working together. “

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