Air Force working on an App Store for IT

An air traffic controller manages the inbound flights on his computer, Dec. 10, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Rebeckah Medeiros)

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The Air Force says it’s making huge leaps and bounds in acquiring enterprise IT services that could help move missions forward — but not everyone who could be using the tech knows about it.

To market the Air Force’s new IT services better, Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger said she is working to build a one-stop-shop like Apple’s App Store or Amazon.com to list products and services that have an authority to operate (ATO) across the service’s enterprise.

Products like Tableau’s data visualization software, cloud offerings and others will be presented on a website that offices across the force and click and buy.

“There are actually some really great services [available] today, but it requires many, many meetings and phone calls and in-person interactions to help people understand what those services are,” Knausenberger said at Cisco’s FedFWD 2021 Summit produced by FedScoop. “At this point, they are mature enough that I should be able to go to a website, click on it and buy it.”

The current state requires airmen to sift through contracts, contact contracting officers and even go through another round of the ATO process, which can take weeks, even if a service is already cleared. It’s a frustrating process both for those seeking to use tech and those, like Knausenberger, that help buy it.

She said that with a “single storefront” for tech, the department could save time and money.

“We are very excited about this and I think it will streamline a lot for us,” Knausenberger said.

The initiative is a part of a broader effort by the Air Force to share more of its successes and market the products and services available to airmen. The storefront will also share some of the internal technology the Air Force has built with its Platform One, Cloud One and Kessel Run teams.

“Sometimes even when you solve problems in the digital transformation realm, it is really hard to tell people that you have solved them,” Knausenberger said. “We are not marketing organizations.”

The Air Force now has cloud capabilities through Cloud One that reach the secret level of security. Some legacy systems have even started migrating to the secret cloud, the CIO said.  Similarly, its Platform One team created a DevSecOps platform that has a continuous ATO that allows teams of airmen to craft secure code that will be authorized for use from the get-go.

-In this Story-

Acquisition, Air Force, ATO, Authority to Operate, Cloud One, Lauren Knausenberger, Platform One, Tableau
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