New software organization to foster collaboration

  • Published
  • By Corey Robertson
  • Air Force Sustainment Center Public Affairs

To keep pace with the ever-evolving technology landscape, Air Force Materiel Command is creating a single software engineering collaboration organization within the Air Force Sustainment Center. This organization will integrate the vast and diverse talent from across the command to ensure the needs of the warfighter continue to be met now and in the future.

“We pride ourselves on having a diverse and talented workforce and this new organization will showcase the work of our amazing Airmen,” said Lt. Gen. Stacey Hawkins, commander, Air Force Sustainment Center. “The ability of this team to take an idea and bring it to fruition is monumental. This organization is the first of its kind and will greatly benefit the entire software enterprise by revolutionizing our processes and fostering unbridled innovation.”

“This decision will align and integrate our software ecosystem capabilities to Air Force priorities and rapidly address the growth in volume and complexity of software-enabled DAF weapon systems,” added Lt. Gen. Shaun Morris, commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “The new organization will play a key role in posturing us for an era of great power competition, crucial to deterring and defeating our pacing country challenge, China.”

Currently, there are three Software Engineering Groups. One is located at each of the Air Logistics Complexes, which are at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Robins AFB, Georgia; and Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. This consolidation is intended to increase efficiency and effectiveness of processes and prioritize the delivery of software while expanding agility and innovation.

Planning for the new organization has been underway for more than a year. According to Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, Air Force Materiel Command commander, it aligns perfectly with the command’s strategic plan focused on more integrated capability delivery.

“This retooling of our AFMC software factories is a perfect example of an enterprise solution that’s laser focused on the warfighter,” Richardson said. “We’re expecting this consolidation will allow seamless integration of other AFMC software factories in the future and serve as a model for software development in other major commands.”

The stand-up of the current directorate will eliminate duplication of efforts across the Sustainment Center.

“With software work being conducted across three different software engineering groups we run the risk of conducting duplicate work and not working together on new and legacy projects,” said Wayne Ayer, director of the AFSC Software Engineering directorate. “This organization will allow for a more streamlined approach and collaborative effort across the workforce and create a one-stop-shop for customers.”

The volume and complexity of software-enabling capabilities within Air Force weapon systems has grown substantially and shows no signs of slowing down. Standing up this new software organization will accelerate the software engineering mission.

“With the continued advancement in weapons systems, the need for more complex software has increased substantially. We are supporting not only new aircraft, but legacy systems that require updates to be compatible with today’s systems. This organization is aimed at providing real-time solutions faster and more efficiently to meet the needs of the warfighter when and where they need it,” said Col. Trauna Jones, military deputy, AFSC Software Engineering directorate. 

The AFSC Software Engineering directorate will be staffed with current Software Group employees suited for the unique software production mission. These employees will remain at their current locations but will begin consolidating workload and resourcing decisions through the new organization.

“We are solving complex software issues across all of our software engineering groups, with the results often being left in a vacuum of sorts. This realignment will enable us to spread the workload and allow for an increased flow of idea-sharing. Working together to solve complex issues will greatly accelerate our capacity to support the warfighter,” said Michael Jennings, senior technical leader, AFSC Software Engineering directorate.  

In a speech given to the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in September of 2021, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. said, “Together we must work to accomplish what seems impossible. We must rise to the challenges of today to prepare for tomorrow.”

Jennings feels this workload consolidation is aimed at doing just that, working together to meet the challenges of the future and ensure the U.S. is keeping pace with adversaries.

“We are facing significant real-world threats that require us to redefine how we scale to meet our warfighter needs faster, while leveraging expertise and capability that exists across our ecosystem. By using intelligent solutions that facilitate timely and cost-effective delivery of software solutions we will be able to rapidly deliver a product to our warfighters,” said Jennings.

The Air Force Sustainment Center is one of six centers in the Air Force Materiel Command. It prepares the Air Force’s most sophisticated weapons systems for future competition.  AFSC provides sustainment and logistics readiness; depot-level maintenance; supply chain management and operations; and installation support.