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Defense and industry leaders discuss digital transformation, ABMS at New Horizons

Adm. Chas Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, addresses defense and industry leaders from Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, during the AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter’s New Horizons 2021 March 17. The theme of the virtual event is “Accelerating Change -- Strengthening Partnerships --Securing the Future.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Adm. Chas Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, addresses defense and industry leaders from Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, during the AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter’s New Horizons 2021 March 17. The theme of the virtual event is “Accelerating Change -- Strengthening Partnerships --Securing the Future.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, headquartered here, speaks to defense and industry leaders during a virtual presentation to AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter’s New Horizons 2021 March 17. Schmidt provided an overview of his $12 billion portfolio, discussed the impact of the pandemic on the expansion of IT infrastructure, and provided critical program updates. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, headquartered here, speaks to defense and industry leaders during a virtual presentation to AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter’s New Horizons 2021 March 17. Schmidt provided an overview of his $12 billion portfolio, discussed the impact of the pandemic on the expansion of IT infrastructure, and provided critical program updates. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Lauren Knausenberger, Air Force chief information officer, shares her thoughts on the Advanced Battle Management System to industry and defense leaders during a ‘Fireside Chat’ at AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter’s New Horizons 2021 March 18. Knausenberger was joined on the panel by Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, headquartered here, Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, director, Air Combat Command Cyberspace and Information Dominance Directorate and John Vona, deputy director of Plans, Program and Requirements Directorate, Air Combat Command, both headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Charlie Benway, managing director of the Cyber Operations Division, the MITRE Corporation, moderated.

Lauren Knausenberger, Air Force chief information officer, shares her thoughts on the Advanced Battle Management System to industry and defense leaders during a ‘Fireside Chat’ at AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter’s New Horizons 2021 March 18. Knausenberger was joined on the panel by Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, headquartered here, Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, director, Air Combat Command Cyberspace and Information Dominance Directorate and John Vona, deputy director of Plans, Program and Requirements Directorate, Air Combat Command, both headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Charlie Benway, managing director of the Cyber Operations Division, the MITRE Corporation, moderated.

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Defense and industry leaders discussed ways their organizations are using digital transformation to meet the Air Force Chief of Staff’s call to “Accelerate Change or Lose” during two days of virtual presentations March 17 and 18.

The first week of New Horizons 2021, sponsored by AFCEA’s Lexington-Concord chapter, featured guest speakers, briefings, and panel discussions covering a wide range of topics, from cloud and edge computing, to digital engineering and management, agile software and open architecture development, and Joint All-Domain Command and Control collaboration.

The keynote speaker of this year’s event was Adm. Chas Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command.

When discussing the importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning to the concept of strategic deterrence, Richard said the United States military must “catch up with industry, pace our adversaries and incorporate the latest tools.”

During the event, Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, headquartered here, provided an overview of his $12 billion portfolio, discussed the impact of the pandemic on the expansion of IT infrastructure, and provided critical program updates.

“We’re really excited about what’s going on in Platform One,” he said. “We’re building and outfitting the DevSecOps platform for all to use, with the security requirements and tools built in so the Air Force and Department of Defense don’t have to continually develop new DevSecOps platforms.”

Col. Bobby King, Enterprise IT and Cyberspace Infrastructure Division, along with other senior materiel leaders from C3I&N, also presented. King discussed his division’s role in implementing new capabilities for improving the Air Force’s IT infrastructure.  

“Our job is to connect every Airmen and Guardian with the data they need to complete their mission, and with each other so they can communicate and collaborate,” he said. “This is super exciting because 700,000 Airmen and Guardians rely on our Enterprise IT systems and services that we deliver 24/7, 365 days a year around the world.”

New to this year’s New Horizons was ‘Fireside Chats,’ where PEOs are able to connect directly with their stakeholders. Responding to a question about the Advanced Battle Management System, Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief information officer, shared her thoughts.

“The whole premise of ABMS is having sensors all over the world that are able to pull in data, which we can fuse in real time to make really good decisions with machine-driven insights,” she said. “But all of that has to be powered by rock-solid infrastructure that connects everything and allows the data to flow into the cloud, where we can work all of our algorithms and manage the fleet.”  

Randall Walden, program executive officer, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, also spoke at length about ABMS and how his directorate is collaborating with the Army and Navy on JADC2.

Other sessions included a panel of former Electronic Systems Center commanders and an industry discussion titled “Feedback: Embracing the Digital Trinity.”

New Horizons virtual presentations will continue March 23-25, with briefings from Steven Wert, program executive officer, Digital, and Col. Amanda Kato, program executive officer, Nuclear Command, Control and Communications, both headquartered here.