In 2020, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) launched its digital campaign with the goal of modernizing and streamlining the life cycle process of Air Force platforms and systems. The end goal is to shorten the time between the idea and it being in the hands of the combatant (s).
Major General William Cooley said: “This is a significant change in the way we have operated in the past and will impact all aspects of our mission: research, engineering, contracting, management. financial, testing and logistics. “
Office of Digital Transformation (DTO)
An important first step to help achieve this goal is a new office called the Digital Transformation Office (DTO). It was created to help manage digital transformation activities across the Air and Space Force enterprise. This 12-member team will focus on building a digital governance structure and ongoing facilities and new digital acquisition transformation assets across the enterprise. This new directorate will report to the Engineering and Technical Management Directorate of AFMC.
James Kyle Hurst has been chosen as director of the DTO. He said, “This office is the first organization to be held from an enterprise-wide perspective to meet digital needs with a long-term perspective. Although the office sits at AFMC, it will have a perspective for the entire Air Force Department procurement community and will encompass activities ranging from research and development to commissioning, sustainment. and beyond… the whole cradle to grave of life cycle management.
How is DTO different?
While a number of organizations are already focusing on building a digitally focused office internally, these offices are focused on their particular mission, such as information technology, infrastructure, business sustainment, ammunition, etc. The DTO will be different because it will look at all digital activities from a broader perspective. The goal being that, since they will be looking from a higher point of view, they will be able to see what each organization is doing well and help others who can learn from best practices. The goal is to streamline and learn best practices, and then get the information out to those who need it.
They hope to be able to extract the information they have learned from guides offering a “This is what you want to do and this is how you can do it” approach. The purpose of these changes is to help streamline processes. And with that information, speed up the time it takes for new technology to reach the fighter faster. Hurst said: “We are putting capabilities into service much slower than our loved ones. It takes us decades to deploy our major, complex weapon systems, while our nearby adversaries do so in half the time.
Innovation is the engine
With these twelve new openings authorized under the call of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Charles Q. Brown, to establish “innovation posts” to help innovation and modernization of all services. More than 300 positions are established in the orders for efforts related to software innovation factories, AFWERX, advanced combat management systems, and more.
“This office and the entire Air Force department are still trying to figure out how to leverage digital and how best to do it. We will continually seek contributions from programs, industry and academia that are currently doing it and doing it well, so that we can learn from them and share. Collaboration and sharing are key to our success across the airline and space business, ”said Hurst.