The Air Force is launching a “Digital Air Force” initiative aiming to revamp its data management, IT architecture and business operations so the force will remain competitive against adversaries.
“Our advantage in future battles depends on our ability to fuse vast amounts of data to accelerate our decision cycle to guarantee the success of any mission," said acting Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan in a news release Tuesday. “Victory in combat will depend on us becoming a Digital Air Force.”
This means the Air Force must establish tools to efficiently generate information and data in real-time to help the service make informed and quick decisions, he said. "Doing so will allow the Air Force to rely less on personal experience or intuition.
The Digital Air Force initiative, detailed in a July white paper, focuses on eliminating “antiquated processes” and overhauling how the service curates, uses and shares data and information, amid difficulties coordinating systems across air, land, sea and cyber domains.
Specifically, the initiative calls for cultivating a 21st century IT infrastructure that can react to the demands of modern combat. This will require cloud-based solutions to store and share data so airmen have constant access to data, the white paper says.
Additionally, the Air Force said it is creating data management architecture and standardized policies that facilitate sharing data and using platforms.
“This requires data that is gathered, stored and transmitted in commonly read and digested formats to minimize the delay between receiving, processing and using information derived from multiple systems,” the white paper said.
The service said it is hiring contracted service providers to handle daily IT infrastructure management so cyber professionals can “focus on warfighter tasks and connecting information operations to our tactical and strategic ends.” The process accompanies the Air Force’s plan to streamline its business practices to free up funding for “efforts that increase the lethality and readiness of the force.”
“We must move beyond antiquated processes, systems and mindsets,” the white paper says. “We will pursue new ways to leverage technology and institute a culture of innovation and informed risk-taking.”
Such changes will influence every segment of the service, the Air Force said. The undersecretary of the Air Force is spearheading the initiative.
“The Air Force must control and manipulate massive volumes of information to out-think and out-maneuver its opponents,” Donovan said. “The Digital Air Force initiative will ensure all Airmen have uninterrupted access to the data they need, where and when they need it.”