Air Force IT office takes shape

Details continue to emerge about the Air Force’s new information technology office as congressional and service officials carry on with meetings to finalize its mission and organizational structure.

The new Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer (SAF/XC) will include three offices: Policy, Planning and Resources; Operations and Support Integration; and Information, Services and Integration.

“This is an organization designed to lead the Air Force to exploit the power of integration and information,” said Rob Thomas, the service’s assistant deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration. Thomas spoke about the Air Force’s new IT office during a luncheon briefing of the Northern Virginia chapter of AFCEA International.

Air Force two-star generals will lead the offices of Operations and Support Integration and Information, Services and Integration. A government Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian will head the Policy, Planning and Resources Office, supported by an Air Force one-star general, Thomas said.

Air Force officials believe the new SAF/XC organization will give service and industry officials a one-stop shop for Air Force warfighting IT, combat support or business IT, and communications systems. “It will give clear interface points for conducting daily business,” Thomas said.

In December 2004, Air Force officials announced they would create SAF/XC by consolidating the offices of Communications Operations, the Chief Information Officer and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration. They said the consolidation would ensure that the service’s current and future IT projects are integrated into its combat operations in a timely manner.

In the announcement, Air Force officials said a three-star general would oversee SAF/XC, supported by a civilian from the government’s SES. Service and industry officials expect that person to be Lt. Gen. Tom Hobbins, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration.

Once Air Force and Senate Armed Services Committee officials complete discussions finalizing SAF/XC, service officials will hold a ceremony at the Pentagon commemorating the opening of the new organization, Thomas said.

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