Morris discusses digital transformation, hiring during address to Lexington-Concord AFCEA

  • Published
  • By K. Houston Waters
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – During a virtual address to the Lexington-Concord AFCEA Jan. 10, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander discussed his priorities, provided insight into the Center’s digital transformation efforts, and detailed hiring challenges.

Lt. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris said the Center must incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics into daily operations in order to use “speed with discipline” to respond to evolving threats from near-peer adversaries.

“Combining model-based systems engineering with digital engineering tools, agile software development, and modular open systems architecture will allow us to utilize the techniques we’ve developed to address evolving threats more rapidly,” he said. “To go faster, we must update our software to enable our existing platforms to do more than they did before. Digital is the key to getting after what the Chief of Staff [of the Air Force] and the Secretary of the Air Force are looking for in regard to this high-end fight.”

Morris expanded on how his priorities, which he described as “who,” “where,” and “how,” fit within the CSAF’s Accelerate Change or Lose campaign, as well as the Secretary’s operational imperative initiative.

The “who” priority relates to the workforce and the efforts of recruitment, culture improvement, and knowledge enhancement. Morris commended Center personnel for their efforts during the pandemic and said that his number one focus is on hiring, which has been a challenge.  

“The measures we took, like encouraging the use of telework, enforcing mask mandates and social distancing, as well as increased cleaning protocols, allowed AFLCMC to continue to support the mission over the last year,” he said. “It’s a testimony to the dedication of the workforce, and to the leaders inside the organization, who continue to deliver war-winning capabilities to our warfighters, despite all of the challenges associated with operating during the pandemic.”

Morris’ other priorities are the “where,” which involves improving information technology infrastructure and providing modern and mission-capable facilities, and “how,” which relates to instituting efforts to transition to the digital environment.

“We must continue to challenge our folks to remember that any time they take action, like when they’re awarding a new contract, they should always be trying to push us forward on our move to digital,” he said. 

During his presentation, Morris described Hanscom as the epicenter for command and control, advanced battle management, and software development and fielding in the Air Force. He praised Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, Steven Wert, program executive officer for Digital, and Col. Katrina Stephens, commander, 66th Air Base Group, for their support.

“I have great appreciation for what they, along with our industry partners, have done to support this enterprise,” he said. “They have been very effective but the reality is that we have to continue to be effective. Nothing is more important to our warfighters than our ability to continue providing them war-winning capabilities.”

AFLCMC is composed of fourteen execution directorates, two of which – the Digital Directorate and C3I&N – are headquartered here. The 66 ABG at Hanscom, which operates the installation, is also part of AFLCMC, as is the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

AFLCMC is responsible for total life cycle management of aircraft, engines, munitions, electronics, computers, networks, cyber and agile combat support systems. The Center employs more than 28,000 people and has a budget of approximately $304 billion.

Morris has commanded AFLCMC since Sept. 3, 2020.

The address was part of the AFCEA Lexington-Concord Speaker Series.