|Air Force Chief Information Officer Outlines IT Initiatives |
Air Force Chief Information Officer Outlines IT Initiatives
Scott Air Force Base, Illinois -- (AFPN) October 18, 2000 -- Dr. Lawrence J. Delaney, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition and the Air Force's chief information officer, has embarked on a new strategy that has the Air Force on a fast track to modernize its information systems called "One Air Force -- One Network."
The strategy is based on adapting the latest information technologies, or IT, to give Air Force people quick and easy access to essential information wherever they are.
"The idea here is really to use the power of information technology to bring us all together and to make us more proficient, more productive and carry out our mandate better," Delaney said.
A key IT initiative under development is "My.AF," the Air Force portal that will give users continuous single-point network access to hundreds of Air Force on-line information resources, and functional and self-service applications. While the portal will tie applications together into one view, it will also give airmen the ability to tailor it to a particular job. My.AF will serve as the primary entry point to current Web-enabled applications, as well as new IT features and capabilities under development.
"My.AF will give an individual the capability to carry out self-service functions that previously have been time-consuming and challenging," Delaney said. "In many cases, users will be able to carry out a lot of functions that before would require them to have to physically go from one place to another to gather data. The Web will make all of that information available on-line to make us much more efficient.
"We're going to institutionalize this Web-centric Air Force," he said. "Some of the steps that the Secretary of the Air Force (F. Whitten Peters) and the Air Force Chief of Staff (Gen. Michael E. Ryan) have made in strengthening the CIO function at Headquarters Air Force include establishing the position of a new principal deputy assistant secretary for information and business systems management, a three-star equivalent."
John Gilligan has been selected to fill the new position.
"We're very lucky to get John (Gilligan)," Delaney said. "He's a great guy. He's well known inside the Air Force and he came to us from the Department of Energy as the CIO for Energy. Now he's back in the Air Force. He will be the full-time person working CIO matters.
"Lt. Gen. John L. Woodward (deputy chief of staff for communications and information), John Gilligan, and I are the CIO team at Air Force headquarters, he said. "Mr. Gilligan will have the day-to-day responsibility of putting together the budget, doing the standards, working on the architecture, and making sure all of our systems are compatible and accessible.
"We'll be focusing on several key things," said Delaney. "One, of course, is information security -- having all the procedures and policies in place to ensure that our systems are protected from intruders. The standards will be another very important area that Mr. Gilligan will work with the people implementing IT systems."
The IT revolution evolved after senior leaders conferred with industry experts earlier this year on tailoring current IT to Air Force requirements. The secretary and chief of staff convened an IT summit in July with major command leaders. They chartered 12 focus groups to lead the way for the Air Force in adopting best practices of industry.
"We believe it will empower individuals, and we believe it will empower them in such a way that we don't fully see yet," Delaney said. "What we experienced over and over again when we were talking to industry people was that they didn't have a totally structured vision of what impact this Web-centric operation would have on their business. But they knew this was the right way to go.
"Once they started, the creativity exploded," he said. "For example, they said, 'if I can file my own travel reports and get paid in less than three days, what else can I do to this operation to empower the individual?' When I look at the creativity in all the Air Force groups here, I think there are going to be ways of empowering the individual that we haven't thought of yet. We're putting in place the structure so that all of this can be enabled."
Delaney is excited about the possibilities that information technology brings. "It's really the future of the Air Force," he said. "There are two sides to this. One is obviously the administrative functions that we're doing, and that's already having an impact. We're reducing the number of servers, for instance, that we've had in place. That's going to create a lot more efficiencies.
"Information technology is going to have tremendous meaning to the warfighter," he said. It's going to integrate many functions and reduce the time required to bring functions together in a warfighting operation. We're going to give the warfighter much greater access to a much larger amount of information and fuse various streams of information into a bigger picture -- turning data into knowledge. That's going to allow the warfighter to do things like affect space targeting and respond rapidly to developing situations. The opportunity to leverage information technology to bring us to a new level of warfighting proficiency is what we're all about.
"What we're doing here requires the support of every individual in the Air Force," he said. "We believe it brings us into a totally new era of capability, where we actually provide the U.S. taxpayers and citizens a new level of assurance. I think we're all going to be very satisfied with the new capability this gives us. It's going to revolutionize the role of the Air Force."