Air Force seeks 'ubiquitous connectivity' from telework to bases

Lauren Knausenberger, Chief Information Officer for the Department of the Air Force,  at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 22, 2021.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue) 

Lauren Knausenberger at Keesler AFB in Mississippi in Feb. 2021. (USAF photo by Kemberly Groue)

The Air Force is launching a scorecard to help steer base modernization efforts. Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force's CIO, said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the service had increased focus on telework and improving base connectivity to make warfighters' work more seamless.

"The scorecard concept will help focus modernization efforts to bolster Enterprise-Mission Information Technology requirements, while providing a living roadmap for broader delivery of the rock solid digital foundation," Knausenberger told FCW via email.

Because each base has different connectivity needs and capabilities, Knausenberger said the scorecard effort involves "a comprehensive look" across the department to identify three to five areas bases can focus on to transform capabilities and boost connectivity, bandwidth, and network readiness.

The effort will also support the Air Force's "internet of battlefield things," also known as the Advanced Battle management System (ABMS), and the Defense Department's push to connect platforms and networks across the services via Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

Air Combat Command/Communications Directorate (A6) and the 38th Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group are working to define criteria and aggregate data needed to analyze those top three to five efforts for the base scorecards. A draft product is expected in the next 30 days.

Knausenberger said the scorecard feeds into the Air Force's initiatives on user experience that includes getting direct feedback on issues that affect productivity and readiness via surveys from airmen and Space Force guardians.

"If we have somebody who is having to work incredibly hard without conductivity -- using whiteboards or 2D models -- then we're just not going to be as prepared as if we gave them really best in class tools where the data [can] help them visualize everything that they need to do," Knausenberger said, speaking at FCW's telework event on March 24.

To improve telework, and more flexibility for defense workers, the Air Force is also developing a bring your own approved device program with Air Combat Command's Headquarters Cyberspace Capabilities Center. The pilot project reaches 1,000 users and requires leadership approval, allows airmen and Space Force guardians to use personal mobile devices to access government information and applications, such as email, chat, and secure web browsing, Knausenberger said.

Right now, the program is "entirely voluntary" and only permits National Information Assurance Partnership-approved iOS and Android devices to be enrolled.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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