Official: Air Force integration pricey

The Air Force's "price of admission" for integrated command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities is a robust, integrated infostructure, but it doesn't come cheap, according to one official leading the effort.

Brig. Gen. (select) John Maluda, deputy director for C4ISR at Air Force headquarters, said the service's number one concern, from integrating manned, unmanned and space systems to server consolidations, is money.

To summarize his point, Maluda, speaking Aug. 28 at the Air Force Information Technology Conference in Montgomery, Ala., repeated what he had heard at a recent meeting of the Air Force major command chief information officers and other IT officials.

"In real estate, it's location, location, location," Maluda recalled on IT official as saying. "In our business, it's money, money, money."

In addition to an integrated infostructure, the Air Force could also do a better job of connecting its numerous "islands" responsible for warfighting simulations, said Maluda, adding that both of those jobs and the service's overall horizontal IT integration are part of the mission of the new Warfighting Integration office, which was created in December and is headed by Lt. Gen. Leslie Kenne.

The service is attempting to remedy these situations by proceeding with its various capabilities-based task forces. The Air Force is currently in the middle of establishing the Global Strike Task Force — a "kick-down-the-door" force that relies heavily on IT, especially those used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The next focus area will be the Space and C4ISR task force, Maluda said.

When asked by an audience member if the server consolidation and other integration efforts would result in outsourcing jobs to the private sector and reassigning Air Force personnel, Maluda said that no positions would be eliminated but those efforts would enable the service to make better use of the workforce. He said he was unaware of any network control centers that had been outsourced.

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