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New AFMC office to drive digital transformation across Air, Space enterprise

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Digital transformation leverages information technology and data to drive more efficient collaboration and weapons-system development to bring capabilities to the warfighter faster and smarter. The Air Force Materiel Command has established a new office to manage digital transformation activities across the Air and Space Force enterprise. The office will focus on creating a digital governance structure and facilitate ongoing and new digital acquisition transformation activities across the enterprise. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Randy Palmer) (U.S. Air Force graphic/Randy Palmer)

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The Skyborg Air Force Vanguard program leverages new business practices and open architecture digital engineering for rapid, streamlined development of future hardware and software components to turn low-cost aircraft into unmanned, autonomous aircraft capable of teaming with manned aircraft in combat to multiply the force’s air power against adversaries. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) --

The Air Force Materiel Command has established a new office to manage digital transformation activities across the Air and Space Force enterprise.

The 12-member Digital Transformation Office, or DTO, will fall under the AFMC Engineering and Technical Management Directorate. It will focus on creating a digital governance structure and facilitate on-going and new digital acquisition transformation activities across the enterprise.

“This office is the first organization that will stand-up from an enterprise-wide perspective to address digital needs with a long-term perspective in mind,” said James Kyle Hurst, director of the Digital Engineering Enterprise Office, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Technology, and Engineering, who will be the new DTO branch chief. “Though the office sits at AFMC, it will have a perspective for the entire Department of the Air Force acquisition community and encompass activities from research and development to fielding, sustainment and beyond … the entire cradle-to-grave of life cycle management.”

According to Hurst, while a number of organizations are in the process of establishing digital-focused offices internally, these are specific to particular mission sets, such as information technology infrastructure, sustainment activity, munitions, etc. The DTO will look at all digital activities from a broader, enabling perspective.

“This office will look across all of those teams and activities to facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned across the entire department. We will focus on the enablers that will help the program … the ‘this is what you want to do, and here’s how you can do it’ aspect,” Hurst said.

AFMC
officially launched its Digital Campaign in 2020 with the goal to create an integrated digital ecosystem that provides enterprise access to the data individuals need to develop, test, field and maintain complex weapon systems. By leveraging modern digital capabilities, the service can decrease the time it takes to move a weapon system from a concept into the hands of a warfighter, while providing the ability to adapt capabilities at speed to meet the requirements of today’s dynamic warfighting domain.

“We are fielding capability much slower than our near peers. We’re taking decades to field our major complex weapons systems, whereas our near-peer adversaries are doing it in half the time,” Hurst said. “We need to make sure we’re not delivering yesterday’s technology to tomorrow’s fight. We have to address and invest on how we acquire our weapons systems … not just focus on delivering the capabilities themselves.”

The manning for the DTO was authorized under
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr.’s call to establish “innovation positions” to help advance innovation and modernization efforts across the service. The 12 positions in the DTO are part of the more than 300 positions being established across the command for efforts related to software innovation factories, AFWERX, the Advanced Battle Management System and more.

For more information on current Digital Campaign efforts, internal Air Force audiences can visit the Digital Guide team site for guidance, references, templates and more. The team also hosts a public version of the Digital Guide for industry and academia to access. General information on the AFMC Digital Campaign is available here.

“This office along with the entire Department of the Air Force is still in the process of trying to figure out how to leverage digital and the best way to do it. We will continually be looking for inputs from programs, industry and academia who are currently doing this and doing it well, so we can learn from them and share,” Hurst said. “Collaboration and sharing are key to our success across the air and space enterprise.”