Schmidt talks to diverse portfolio, human capital at industry meeting

  • Published
  • By Patty Welsh
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Talent management and human capital, including how the government and industry can work together to address challenges, was a key topic Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt addressed while speaking to the Hanscom Representatives Association, Nov. 23.

Schmidt, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, said when he initially went to his organization's software factory, Level Up, he expected to find many kids in hoodies doing the coding. Instead, he found retired teachers, retired military personnel, and others who had skills and who were interested in something different to do.

"We make sure everyone gets fully trained, especially in areas such as DevSecOps and Kubernetes," he said. "We want to ensure this is a repeatable process; we don’t don't want to hire unicorns."

At a recent AFCEA conference in Texas he attended, Schmidt noted there was discussion about offering more Education with Industry-type partnerships, rather than the government and industry vying to hire the same people.

“We want to be able to train and grow our Airmen,” he said. "Is there a way we can have someone work with a company learning about software development or IT for 1-2 years?"

During the presentation, the general also provided an overview of the C3I&N directorate, highlighting his "extremely diverse" portfolio, ranging from cyber and crypto to IT and aerial networking.

Schmidt noted his team’s work in the early stages of COVID helped the Air Force move into a teleworking environment.

"When COVID began, we were not ready to have the entire Department of the Air Force telework in any way whatsoever," he said. "Within a couple of months, we were able to get everyone VPN [virtual private network] and have products such as CVR [commercial virtual remote] Teams available. It was a huge team effort, and I'm proud of everything that we made happen."

When talking about Airmen's IT user experiences, Schmidt said while improving those was the initial work, it was soon realized those efforts, especially regarding data, are also going to be critical to Advanced Battle Management System and Joint All-Domain Command and Control, along with supporting the Air Force's ability to win a high-end fight.

HRA brings representatives from small, large, and start-up Hanscom area businesses together to encourage collaboration in the acquisition process. This event took place at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Research Institute's Northstar campus in Lincoln, Massachusetts.