Wert provides E-7 update, highlights C-sUAS challenges

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

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Steven Wert, program executive officer Digital, provided program updates during a meeting with Hanscom area business leaders Oct. 6.  

In his presentation to the Hanscom Representatives Association, Wert discussed Digital’s support of the Secretary of the Air Force’s operational imperatives and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in his programs. Additionally, he also described how Digital personnel are supporting the Defense Production Act.

According to Wert, the Secretary’s operational imperatives are driving change to the Digital portfolio in a number of key ways, specifically the accelerated efforts to acquire the E-7 Wedgetail.

“Andrew Hunter (assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) has already approved our acquisition strategy, and we’re working through a middle tier acquisition advisory board,” Wert said. “We released the request for proposal last month and we’re expecting a complete proposal in February of next year.”

Wert also shared his thoughts on the newly established program executive office for Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management, or C3BM. He believes their primary mission will be the Advanced Battle Management System, or ABMS.

“My hope is that they also focus on the architecture and engineering standards that PEOs need to execute their programs to,” Wert said. “That’s what we need.”

During his presentation, Wert also provided updates on many of his divisions. Regarding his Force Protection Division, which is the Air Force lead on Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or C-sUAS, efforts, he believes a lack of funding to the program is presenting a serious challenge.

“We were told to field the best C-sUAS technology available and we’ve done that,” he said. “But now there is very limited sustainment or development money to modernize what we fielded. The lack of development and sustainment programs for base defense and C-sUAS is deeply concerning and it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Additionally, Digital personnel are currently working on a number of Defense Production Act projects in support of the Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, six divisions have awarded over $570 million in contracts for the domestic production of diagnostic testing supplies and medical equipment.

The HRA brings representatives from small, large, and start-up Hanscom-area businesses together to encourage collaboration in the acquisition process.

Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, the program executive officer of Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, discussed enterprise systems, Joint-All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, and other topics during his meeting with the HRA Sept. 28. 

Members of the Hanscom Small Business Office are scheduled to participate in a virtual HRA small business panel Oct. 20.