Air Force to cut IT costs by 25 percent

IT consolidation and efficiency efforts within the Air Force are part of the service\'s contribution to Defense Secretary Robert Gates\' efficiency initiative, ...

By Jared Serbu
Federal News Radio

Consolidation of hardware and software systems will reduce the Air Force’s IT costs by 25 percent, the service’s head said Wednesday.

Air Force Secretary Mike Donley told a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Air Force Association in Arlington, Va., that he intends to shrink five-year IT costs by $1.2 billion.

“There are significant initiatives underway within the department to consolidate data centers and do our computer networking and cyber work more efficiently,” Donley said. “The Air Force embarked on this a couple of years ago. We recognized the need to get a more centralized approach underway on IT. This was a theme as we were putting together the 24th Air Force. It is now a theme across the department, so we think there are some opportunities for some significant savings.”

The 24th Air Force serves as the service’s cyber command.

The IT savings are part of a $34 billion dollar package of efficiencies that the Air Force identified in response to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ directive to the military branches to come up with a collective $100 billion in savings. The savings will largely be reinvested into the individual services, Gates said when he announced an overview of the budget reprioritizations last week.

Among some of the other specifics Donley revealed Wednesday:

  • The Air Force will consolidate the Air Operations Centers at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and Tindal Air Force Base in Florida into one. The centers for European Command and Africa Command will also be combined. Donley said the Air Force would use its existing strategic basing process to decide which centers would be absorbed into which.
  • Three numbered Air Forces will be inactivated, with some of their functions combined with other commands: The 19th at Ramstein Air Base in Germany; the 13th Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; 17th at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas.
  • The Air Force will save money by starting a more cost efficient buying program for satellites – some of the biggest acquisitions for the service. It will involve procuring new satellites in blocks, even when a block is made up of only two satellites.

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