Air Force working to transform with new 10 x 10 vision

The Department of the Air Force needs to work on several areas to meet its modernization and transformation goals, including improving data quality and accessib...

The Air Force is working on a new plan to accelerate its modernization efforts and bring it into the future as it tries to keep pace with the changing needs of its Airmen and Guardians.

The upcoming “10 x 10 Vision” will help the Department of the Air Force achieve its top priority of reoptimizing the department by focusing on several key areas. It also supports the idea of continuous modernization to meet the department’s needs.

Although officials say it’s not fully done, the vision highlights several areas that the Air Force is looking at over the next several years. These areas are:

  • Custom development – bespoke applications coded with specific purposes and highly detailed requirements and specifications, which will be used rarely.
  • Low code application platforms – to quickly develop capabilities with a visual graphic user interface instead of hand-coded computer programming.
  • Customer relationship management – systems that will support customer and customer engagement focused processes.
  • Enterprise shared services and networks/infrastructure – secure and integrated enterprise capabilities, such as Cloud One and Platform One, for each mission capability to utilize.
  • Purpose built commercial-off-the-shelf – COTS applications made for specific purposes to achieve a specific mission outcome.
  • Enterprise resource planning systems – integrated, robust systems with modules on different business areas that are designed to meet several business outcomes.
  • Enterprise governance – leadership-governed processes and decisions aimed at optimizing business outcomes.

“10 x 10 says I can no longer sit here and whine about the problem,” Lora Muchmore, the assistant deputy undersecretary of the Air Force and assistant deputy chief management officer, said at an AFCEA NOVA event on Wednesday. “I’m putting a marker on the table. I’m going to say what are my 10 Air Force defense business systems I’m going to have in 10 years. Realistically, am I going to have 10 systems in 10 years? No, the answer is not 10. The answer is not 10 years. The answer is we need to be aggressive, but we need to be smart.”

She added that looking at industry’s KPIs or key performance indicators for these areas should be layered into its approach for 10 x 10.

In addition to 10 x 10, Muchmore has other near-term goals for the Air Force. Specifically, the Air Force must improve its data quality and accessibility, be compliant, rationalize and transform.

Muchmore said the Air Force needs to identify deficiencies for its core data and find an interim solution while it works on a longer-term fix.

“Our data quality and accessibility – the information about my systems – isn’t accurate, reliable and easily accessible,” Muchmore said. “We’re going to do that and we’re going to do it really quickly. I think my team has promised me [that in] early December we’re going to have a big win in that area. So, I’m really excited about that.”

The Department of the Air Force also needs to be more compliant in several areas. This includes being compliant in functional areas like the Standard Financial Information Structure, the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act, Federal Financial Management System Requirements and Defense Logistics Management Standards, as well as technical compliance. It also means having core data accuracy and cybersecurity to protect this data.

“We need to become compliant,” Muchmore said. “Having a standard language on how I’m trading financial information is critical, it’s key. I keep going out there and talking to industry going, ‘Hey, so what have you done without a data standard?’ And they kind of look at me like, ‘Yeah, we wouldn’t do that.’ So SFIS, data standard business rules … we’ve got to get after it.”

“We are going to look at the systems we have today and we know we’re going to keep and make them compliant with the standards that the Department of Defense has agreed upon for a very long time,” Muchmore said.

She added that for technical compliance, having a lot of technical debt is not sustainable, so following the DoD’s Chief Information Officer’s technical roadmap will be important. Another key element is cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity, this is a no brainer,” Muchmore said. “You’ve got to protect that data. You’ve got to protect that information because bad things can happen if you don’t.”

Rationalization for the department entails retiring legacy systems, using the Defense Business System Quad chart and Enterprise Information Technology services.

“I’ve got 325 systems,” Muchmore said. “I don’t need all of them. We’re going to start just getting rid of dead wood: legacy systems. We’re going to figure out what that future is, however, [we’re] not going to wait till I know what 10 x 10 is. I’m going to start migrating and rationalizing now.”

Transformation for the Department of the Air Force means defining the target state, executing the next generation of the Air Force, as well as being more agile and data centric.

“We need to start thinking in our minds [about] transformation,” Muchmore said. “How do I look at the future of doing defense business systems development and rationalization using maybe some new ways of thinking?”

Air Force Next Gen is another way the department is looking to transform and modernize. Accomplishing this is part of its near-term transformation goals.

“The whole idea here is we are getting after manual processes,” Muchmore said. “We’re getting after data calls, we’re getting after information that isn’t relevant … Our future is making sure that the business mission area of the Department of Air Force has performance data, is making alignment between operational gaps and technology, [which] helps us think about the future process and absolutely helps us transform faster than we’re doing now.”

While Muchmore discussed her near-term goals, there are several items she is prioritizing as the Air Force continues its transformation efforts.

“Making sure we have the right acquisition strategy for software that is really important,” Muchmore said. “But also, to really not just be here next year and talk about this concept of 10 x 10. We have to determine as best we can, what we’re marching towards priority number one. Priority number two is to figure out what enterprise capabilities are needed at the Department of Air Force to truly better manage defense business systems and it’s not just is it compliant … as we move data from a legacy to a target system, do we have a standard approach? It’s things like that.”

“The third is to stop talking about business enterprise architecture and get a federated enterprise architecture truly in place that helps guide the enterprise, which is rationalizing systems, helps at a segment level kind of looks deep, where we have compliance things like financial management, etc.,” Muchmore said. “And then also ties at the very bottom layer to the system that allows me to do things like ‘I made this change here now I’ve got to make it over there.’ That’s a very detailed system. We need that, so those are the top priorities.”

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