LEXINGTON, Mass. – Individual programs run by program executive offices at Hanscom are leading to better networks, better cyber security, more mission-ready cyber Airmen and empowered mission partners, according to the Air Force’s deputy chief information officer.
Bill Marion, also deputy chief of information dominance, spoke at an AFCEA local chapter breakfast in Lexington, Massachusetts, July 9. He addressed a mixed crowd of local business leaders, Air Force contractors and Hanscom Airmen and civilians who work together to deliver systems that enable Airmen to accomplish their missions.
“When you think about it, [Maj. Gen. Michael] Schmidt has 180 small cities to modernize,” said Marion, referring to the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks PEO’s mission to modernize Air Force networks using Enterprise IT as-a-Service, and other initiatives. “EITaaS is a number one or number two priority for us because it enables so many other things. Security improves. Airmen are freed up to be cyber warriors. User experience improves.”
Marion, a senior executive service member, is also responsible for Air Force records management and Freedom of Information Act compliance. These two duties are examples of how better networks can improve day-to-day business in the Air Force.
“Imagine being an Airman and you have to find an old memo,” said Marion. “Now imagine only being able to look for it using a two-decade old system, and it might not even be a digital record to begin with. Bringing all our networks to the same capability makes these simple jobs easier, and makes us more able to focus on the larger missions.”
A C3I&N division chief in the audience explained that systems used to track acquisition programs are also ripe for updating and modernization.
“We have a triage team of ten or 12 people working with Air Force Materiel Command to diagnose our most challenging network issues, and quickly improve the situation using current capabilities,” said Col. Nathan White, C3I&N’s Special Programs senior materiel leader. “Thanks to the support from senior leaders like Mr. Marion, we can focus on results and imagine better ways to do things faster—our triage teams are one example. Leadership’s emphasis on outcomes is making a huge difference on the effectiveness and efficiency with which we can do our jobs.”
Following the breakfast, Marion visited Hanscom to stand up a new functional management office, which falls under Air Combat Command and is charged to integrate acquisition processes, user feedback and command requirements for network modernization under one roof.