Air Force CIO praises architecture

The Air Force creates and stores too much information that sometimes officials do not transfer to warfighters quickly enough. The service wants to make data available to them anytime and anywhere, according to the Air Force's top information technology official.

To improve the global flow of data, the Air Force developed an enterprise architecture. It breaks service IT into five categories: warfighting, business and combat support, infrastructure, mission support and programs, said John Gilligan, Air Force chief information officer.

"We want data to flow seamlessly," said Gilligan, speaking this morning at the Government Enterprise Architectures Conference sponsored by the META Group Inc. and the Digital Consulting Institute.

The Air Force's decision to break the enterprise architecture into subarchitectures increases efficiency. More importantly, it gets agency leaders and architects involved and communicating in the process — a governmentwide problem in creating architectures, he said.

The Air Force also started an Enterprise Architecture Integration Council to oversee the process, Gilligan said. He and two generals, deputy chiefs of staff for warfighting integration and operations, lead the group to provide governance.

Gilligan said the Air Force's top officer believes an enterprise architecture will empower air leaders in combat. "What's important is bringing together the mass of data flowing into the system and automatically turning it into 'decision-quality' information for commanders," he said quoting Gen. John Jumper, service chief of staff.

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