Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Blogger: Air Force Enterprise

Maj. Gen. Earl Matthews
Guest blogger and AFA member Nancy Armour, Director of Federal Sales at Terremark, attended a panel session on the Air Force Enterprise, moderated by Maj. Gen. Earl Matthews, Director, Cyberspace Operations, Office of Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. [Panel members included Brig. Gen. David Uhrich, Director of Communications, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Ms. Essye Miller, SES, Director, Headquarters AF Information Management, Office of the Administration to the Secretary of the Air Force, and Mr. Frank Konieczny, SES, Chief Technology Officer, Office of Information Dominance and CIO, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.]

Below is her take-away:

The discussion began with a question to Brig. Gen. Uhrich who was asked what ACC, as a consumer, needed from the Air Force Enterprise. Brig. Gen. Uhrich stated that he wants to understand more about what will be in the infrastructure, including what services will be provided to who and when. He needs a reliable, centrally managed robust service and says they should “think big, start small, and scale fast”. He has moved staff from delivering enterprise services to focusing on the MAJCOM’s unique responsibility as the steward of 5 of the missions in the core function master plan. The Air Force needs to look at how email is provided, and if and when they should migrate to a DISA provided email service. He also felt that portals, data centers, and cloud services should be part of the enterprise offering.

Mr. Konieczny was asked to discuss activities related to the Joint Information Enterprise (JIE). He started by saying that the purpose of the initiative is to allow DoD systems to be more effective, and increase situational awareness across DoD. He said there would be no Program Office and no procurement for JIE. The tenets of JIE are for DoD to share information. He used enterprise data centers as an example of shared assets. Data Centers across the world, and across organizations, will be selected as enterprise data centers and PaaS, IaaS and storage will be offered from them. Network normalization needs to occur to allow for better situational awareness. He also stated there would be a centralized management of the enterprise, not a pure joint effort, but DoD working together. He also spoke about how ABAC (Attribute Based Access Control) will be implemented to provide additional data protection.

Ms. Miller spoke briefly about the AF National Capitol District Washington pending procurement. They are focusing the follow-on procurement to ensure a strong representation of small business is included. She is looking for input from industry on what changes have occurred over the last 8 years in how services are being delivered that should be taken into account.

Questions from the audience included a question that Mr Konieczny addressed regarding how the Air Force plans to handle big data. He said this is one of the largest challenges as more and more data is collected. They are gathering more data than can be understood and analyzed and are looking for a solution from industry to help with this challenge.

Brig Gen Uhrich was asked to speak about the progress ACC has made with mobility. He stated he is a believer of “Bring Your Own Device” for some of the work they do. The challenge continues to be managing classified data on mobile devices. He thinks there is a solution out there that can be deployed to address concerns and allow the technology to be used effectively.

The wrap up discussion focused on acquisition and finding a way to strike a balance between functionality and the challenges related to the significant budget cuts that are coming. The benefits and challenges of using open source code was also touched on. The Air Force Smart Operations activity, specifically related to how to accredit cloud services, was also mentioned.

[The event was hosted by AFCEA’s DC Chapter.]

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