Enterprise IT

Air Force strengthens CIO role

Placeholder Image for Article Template

Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Michael Basla said the service is taking a more holistic approach to IT investments.

Air Force leaders are making some changes in order to bring the service's IT under centralized governance, including adding decision-making powers to the CIO position and transitioning, at least in part, to the Defense Department's enterprise email system.

The CIO office will soon have greater influence on IT strategy and the budget review and approval processes, according to Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, who spoke Dec. 11 at an AFCEA event in Vienna, Va.

"As I looked at how we provisioned IT capabilities in the past...it became obvious to me that only about half of our IT investments [were] under the purview of the CIO, and half of our IT investments came from all the other portfolios out there," Basla said. "Up to this point, that has not been a synchronized effort. That's not because there was any nefarious activity going on; it was because we hadn't looked at it from a holistic approach. That's not the best way to run a railroad. The bottom line is the status quo is not an option anymore."

With IT spending spread across a number of areas in the Air Force -- and becoming increasingly important given the emphasis on cybersecurity operations -- a new approach means newly centralized strategic direction and spending oversight, he said.

"The goal is to enable our Air Force -- all functions, all major commands, all core function lead integrators -- to make informed and coordinated investment decisions regarding IT and cyber investment," Basla said.

The move toward centralization also serves to better align the Air Force with DOD-wide enterprise IT efforts, including the Joint Information Environment. Part of that move includes migrating at least some parts of the Air Force to the enterprise email capabilities to which the Army has also transitioned.

Basla said the Air Force is in the final stages of transitioning its headquarters offices to the email system, which the Defense Information Systems Agency leads, and there's a good business case for moving its Secret IP Router Network to the system as well, which will happen in the coming months. As for the rest of the Air Force's components, that remains to be determined.

"Our SIPRNet needed modernization. The defense enterprise email provided that modernization opportunity, and so we're migrating there next," Basla said. "The rest of the Air Force, we're building that plan right now."

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above