Information technology infrastructure provides foundation digital change Published July 12, 2021 By Estella Holmes, Air Force Materiel Command WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Note: This is the first of a series of articles on the Air Force Materiel Command Digital Campaign Lines of Effort. The series will focus on one effort each month, providing information on the goals, importance and ongoing successes. Each effort is led by a champion and is supervised by an Air Force Life Cycle Management Center general officer and/or Program Executive Officer who helps drive the accomplishment of the campaign objectives. Establishing the required information technology infrastructure for a digitally-transformed service is the first line of effort in the Air Force Materiel Command Digital Campaign. The main goal of this effort is to clearly express the IT infrastructure needs of a digitally-transformed acquisition system and influence the necessary improvement investments to enable a strong, secure environment for the enterprise-wide campaign. “Delivering a robust, agile and secure IT infrastructure that includes everything from the device each Airman uses, the networks that connect Airmen to the data center, and the data centers where the digital engineering tools are deployed, is essential to enabling the digital transformation,” said Glenn Townsend, Director of Engineering and Program Executive Officer, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Network, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. To satisfy these outcomes, three primary objectives support the overarching LOE goals. The first objective is to identify and inform the on-going corporate IT infrastructure improvement initiatives of Digital Campaign-driven requirements. To achieve this, the team is working closely with Air Force and Department of Defense stakeholders to establish the requirements for digital-based acquisition systems to support current and future needs. While many of the new IT initiatives from across the Air Force such as Enterprise IT as a Service are beneficial to the overall digital effort, the team continues to seek additional solutions and best-practices from industry and academia to augment efforts in this area. The proposed modeling of an F-16 ‘digital twin’ offered through the AFLCMC’s F-16 Program Office in cooperation with Wichita University, is a current example Airmen can see. Establishing cybersecurity guidance to better secure networks, data centers, end-user devices, and data across multiple security levels and boundaries would support the common digital engineering tools environment and provide a benchmark security strategy for future software development. Active collaboration is underway with the Office of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored Digital Engineering Working Group to meet this objective and a new Authorization to Use process for application software is being piloted. “The initial application of Authorization to Use will be for digital engineering-focused software applications and will provide digital engineering environment providers a means to assess and lessen the risk associated with proposed tools on an ongoing basis. In other words, means are provided to determine and eliminate risks associated with proposed tools as they change,” said Eric Chamberlin, Chief, Cyber Systems Engineering Division, Air Force C2 Security Control Assessor and Cyber Risk Assessor, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Objective three began as the development of playbooks for digitizing processes, but has evolved into a support hub for digital “Quick Wins.” These are digital process successes with immediate impact to users. One process success is the electronic DD 2875, or e2875 program led by Robins Air Force Base. The e2875 program digitizes the computer account application process. The Digital Campaign has helped this software mature into an enterprise capability, scaling it for widespread command use. “Time matters. Digital tools and processes can improve time and efficiency in each acquisition phase, reducing the time for delivering new capabilities from concept exploration to sustainment,” said Francis Stepic, Information Technology Subject Matter Specialist, Center Information Technology Office, Air Force Sustainment Center. The AFMC digital campaign team is transforming how the Air and Space Forces acquire, deliver and sustain warfighting capabilities. Success in transformation requires a supportive IT infrastructure that can sustain enterprise digital modernization into the future. “Properly implemented, digital automation unlocks agility and innovation, increases efficiency and accelerates the pace by which advanced capabilities are fielded to Department of the Air Force users,” said Richard Kutter, Technical Advisor, Embedded Computer Systems and Software, Cybersecurity Authorizing Official for Aircraft at the AFLCMC and the Air Force Acquisition Digital Campaign LOE #0 (IT Infrastructure) champion. For more information on current Digital Campaign efforts, internal Air Force audiences can visit the Digital Guide team site for guidance, references, templates and more. The team also hosts a public version of the Digital Guide for industry and academia to access at https://wss.apan.org/af/aflcmc. General information on the AFMC Digital Campaign is available at https://www.afmc.af.mil/Digital/.