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Sunsetting is the beginning, not the end for a digitally-empowered Air Force

  • Published
  • By Michele Donaldson
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The 2023 Digital Drivers Forum, held virtually on Jan. 17, united everyday visionaries from across the command in various functional areas to brainstorm ideas focused on Digital Transformation.

Kyle Hurst, Chief, Department of the Air Force Digital Transformation Office, introduced his team and began with the announcement that the Air Force Materiel Command Digital Campaign has sunset, with efforts transitioning to tactical execution in the digital realm.

“This does not mean that digital acquisition or digital materiel management is going away. Quite the opposite,” he said. “We are shifting from a voluntary or optional mindset to tactical execution.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Robert J. Fookes, Jr., Director of Engineering and Technical Management, and Chief Engineer, AFMC, who noted that the creation of the DTO was a positive outcome of the Digital Campaign.

The DTO’s mission is to coordinate and facilitate digital transformation activity already occurring, with the end-goal resulting in a digitally-empowered Department of the Air Force. The DTO connects advocates for change from across the enterprise. The effort aims to create an agile workforce equipped with the training, state-of-the-art technology, and software tools to facilitate digital activities. Thousands of processes that are intuitive are being examined to simplify or automate.              

“We are looking at eliminating confusion and having one ‘belly button’ for this transformation journey we are on,” Fookes said.

“We are looking at a digital mindset across the enterprise that incorporates sustainment, contracting, finance and not just acquisition and engineering,” he continued. “This is a team sport, and I’m hoping for communication, collaboration, partnership and pushing the envelope.”

Over 200 people attended the forum which not only provided information on the ongoing activities of the DTO, but also allowed time to break into 10 moderated groups to discuss more specific ideas from the “digital-doers.”

“The breakouts are a chance to help us see into our blind spots,” said Noah “Odie” Demerly, DTO Process Automation Lead. “We want to know about projects that exist or should exist. We are looking for your best ideas that we can help build out.”

The next step for the DTO is to go through the ideas collected, outline outputs for the work, and highlight different initiatives to pursue. They will be asking people who were involved to support teams that will be built to expound on the ideas. 

To learn more about the effort and how to engage with the team, visit https://www.afmc.af.mil/About-Us/Digital/. Additional information on the Digital Campaign transition is coming soon.