HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The new Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander spoke to the Hanscom workforce about the way forward to a digital Air Force during a virtual all-call here Oct. 7.
While, as its name implies, the Digital directorate is an obvious enabler for Air Force digital transformation, the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks Directorate is also critical, Lt. Gen. Shaun Morris said.
“What it takes to be a digital Air Force starts here at Hanscom, both in the Digital Directorate and the C3I&N Directorate,” the general said. “We can’t move the data we need to move without robust network capabilities, and Hanscom is where we begin to solve that.”
He referenced key topics of innovation discussed during the 2020 Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference and encouraged anyone interested in learning more about digital engineering to read Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Dr. Will Roper’s recent call for acquisition agility through digital engineering.
Following his opening remarks, Morris held a question and answer portion where he addressed the way ahead for telework, training and use of temporary duty (travel).
In what was his first visit to Hanscom since taking command of the Center last month, he expressed how important it was for him to visit the installation and touch base with the men and women who have continued to accomplish the mission despite a global pandemic.
Morris said that while COVID-19 has not affected the criticality of delivering capabilities to the warfighter, it has changed the future of how and where the mission is executed.
The general said that telework will remain an option post-COVID; the question is, to what degree. The answer is still being drafted, and senior leaders are currently reviewing facility and personnel needs and how those can be adapted.
“We’ve had an opportunity to fundamentally rethink where we do our work, and we’re realizing that telework is a viable method for us to be successful,” said Morris. “The only way to take full advantage of it, though, is through continual IT investments.”
Beyond focusing on where work is done, the general said we need to focus on those who are doing it. He emphasized that senior leaders must ensure the workforce has the right training, development opportunities, and leadership to be successful in the new work environment, whatever that may look like.
He also recognized that a digital force could further open the aperture of professional opportunity by allowing the Air Force to find and retain talent, regardless of where employees live.
“We can be somewhat limited in our locations by what surrounds an installation because that’s where we’re limited to finding talent,” said Morris. “There’s talent that may not be present directly outside our gates, and digital could give us a chance to pull from a more diverse and inclusive set of talents.”
The general highlighted recent successes from the 66th Air Base Group and the program executive offices, noting Hanscom will remain a focal point of tomorrow’s fight.
“Hanscom is the epicenter for delivering these capabilities that will enable us to achieve our future,” he said.
During his visit, the general visited with the two Hanscom-based AFLCMC acquisition directorates, Detachment 12 (Kessel Run), and the 66 ABG. He also met virtually with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and with staff members from the local Congressional delegation.