The U. S. Air Force might be the strongest in the industrial age – but the nation is no longer in the industrial age. That’s the assessment of retired Lt. Gen. Bill Bender, the former Air Force chief information officer. Now he’s the senior vice president for strategic account executives and government relations, in the business development and strategy group at Leidos.
Bender discussed where the Air Force is headed to accommodate the 21st networked century, and how the company is helping it get there.
“There’s a mismatch between the Air Force we built for a different time and the world we’re living in today.” He says the Air Force’s challenge is fully achieving what it calls mission domain command and control. Operations increasingly occur in cyberspace, as do logistics and other support functions. Put another way, the world in which the Air Force operates is a software-defined one, Bender says.
It all means the Air Force must develop the right networked applications to be agile and adaptive, and using data and analytics to support warfighting objectives. At the same time, it must build assurance in the security of its digital assets. And it must operate ever more efficiently, in part by applying analytics and modeling to how it conducts the “tail” activities that support the “tooth.”
Senior Vice President, Strategic Account Executives & Government Relations, Business Development & Strategy Group, Leidos
Lt. General William J. Bender currently serves as Senior Vice President - Strategic Account Executives & Government Relations, within the Business Development & Strategy Group at Leidos. General Bender is responsible for strengthening and advancing trusted relationships with customers and advancing strategic initiatives to foster enterprise growth.
General Bender brings more than 34 years of military experience and executive-level leadership in multiple facets of information technology (IT) and government services. General Bender most recently served as Chief Information Officer for the United States Air Force (USAF), where he was responsible for 50,000 cyber operations and support personnel across the globe with oversight for the USAF’s IT investment strategy and a portfolio valued at $17 billion. Prior to his most recent role, General Bender was the second highest ranking military officer, based at the United States Embassy in Iraq, serving as the Deputy Chief, Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq with oversight and management of foreign military sales and security cooperation initiatives supporting U.S. diplomatic relations with the government of Iraq. His leadership tenure in the USAF also includes serving as Chief Operations Officer with overall operations, training and readiness responsibility for 20,000 personnel, as well as Executive Staff Director and Joint Duty Officer to European Command and U.S. Transportation Command Commanders with responsibility for theater-wide and global logistics operations.
General Bender was commissioned in 1983 after earning a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College. He also holds a Master of Arts National Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Business Administration in Business and Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and numerous certificates from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Tom Temin has been the host of the Federal Drive since 2006. Tom has been reporting on and providing insight to technology markets for more than 30 years. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Tom was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines. Tom also contributes a regular column on government information technology.