Air Force needs more efficiency from ‘raindrop’ software factories: former DoD cyber official

Capt. Sarah Miller and Tech. sergeant. Carrol Brewster, 834th Cyber ​​Operations Squadron, discuss options in response to a staged cyberattack while filming a scene for an Air Force Reserve Command mission video at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, June 1, 2019. (US Air Force Photo by Major Christopher Vasquez)

WASHINGTON: The Air Force needs a strategy to get the most out of its investments in its various “raindrops” of software factories, according to a former Pentagon official who said he also fears the department does not develop enough talent in these initiatives.

Ed Wilson, former deputy principal cybersecurity adviser to the Secretary of Defense, said he was a “big fan” of “software factories for DevSecOps”. and sees their continued growth, he wondered how the service could “gain a little more efficiency at times.” DevSecOps refers to an approach that combines software development, cybersecurity, and software operations.

“I’m not…for more bureaucracy, but we kind of have raindrops of software factories there,” Wilson said at the US Future Space Innovation Summit on Tuesday. “Not all are created equal. There are more success stories than others.

He added that “his concern would be that we don’t develop enough talent to succeed in these environments. And so I think we need to pay attention to that DevSecOps talent pool.

The Air Force has a number of software factories responsible for developing and delivering new software spread across the country, including space-specific innovation centers and platformONE, the Department of Defense DevSecOps environment. A total of 29 software factories exist today in the military services.

Wilson’s comments appear to echo some concerns that were addressed in a Pentagon-wide software modernization strategy released Feb. 2. This strategy called for leveraging all 29 factories and establishing an enterprise-level “ecosystem” with the goal of acquiring and delivering software at speed faster.

RELATED: The Pentagon wants to turn its 29 software factories into a single “ecosystem”

The goal of the modernization strategy is to have a centralized software hub that would help streamline checkpoints for end-to-end software delivery and accelerate innovation into the hands of soldiers. He also warned that current DoD processes governing how the department procures, implements and operates across missions cannot keep up with the changing pace of technology.

To Wilson’s comments about not developing enough talent, a major goal of the strategy calls for “advancing technical skills” or improving the workforce.

The DoD wants to establish a “standard and dynamic inventory of basic training and augment that training with investments in on-the-job, interdepartmental learning programs and rotation opportunities,” according to the strategy.

Jason Weiss, the DoD’s director of software, told reporters in February that the Pentagon also created a task force under the Software Modernization Steering Group to recommend best practices and policy changes for factories. .

“We’re seeing a lot of lessons learned starting to trickle down to the top and a lot of collaboration happening through things like our DevSecOps community of practice,” Weiss said. “So it’s a living, breathing ecosystem. And we’re going to be looking and listening to these software factories to figure out what policy changes to prioritize and when to affect them.

Margie D. Carlisle