Deltek Expects Air Force IT Spending to Decline from 2016 to 2021

Published: July 13, 2016

USAFBig DataCloud ComputingCybersecurityMobility

Overall information technology spending at the Air Force is expected to decline modestly over the next five years, with key areas of cybersecurity, big data, mobility, and cloud computing remaining as priorities.

Deltek’s new Federal Information Technology Market, 2016-2021 forecast estimates that spending by the Air Force on contracted IT goods and services will dip slightly from $11.7 billion in FY 2016 to $11.0 billion in FY 2021 reflecting a -1.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Deltek’s forecast projects relatively flat spending on software and communications and network services while greater cost savings will come in both IT hardware and IT services over the forecast period.

The top-line trimming will still sustain investments in high-priority areas like cybersecurity, data management and analytics, mobility solutions, and cloud computing will drive targeted spending, paid for, in part, by efficiency measures in infrastructure and support.

Air Force’s Information Dominance cybersecurity vision continues to evolve to increase the security of its information and systems with a holistic approach encompassing people, culture, tools, and operational processes. The 24th Air Force, or AFCYBER, the Air Force’s component Cyber Command, should reach full operational capability by September 2018. Air Force is creating a cyber proving ground as part of Cyber Forward to foster partnering and organic capabilities to develop unique cyber tools. Air Force bolstered its Cyber Mission Force by roughly 40 percent in the last year. Of the 133 teams slated for the DOD CMF, 39 will be from the Air Force and will be in place and at initial operating capability by the end of 2016.

The Air Force continues to face challenges in data management and utilization – from managing large, expanding data stores from ongoing operations such as aerial surveillance and logistics, to leveraging that data to improve decisions and increase mission benefits. Opportunities to use big data solutions are widespread – including intelligence data processing, analytics to process full motion video, network security and monitoring, and predictive analytics.

Air Force will continue to use a mix of Cloud Computing options: DISA as a broker for cloud and data center needs, milCloud, and - as much as possible - commercial clouds. Base-level private clouds must be justified. Application migration to the milCloud has been slower than anticipated and application rationalization complicates the move.

Air Force has been piloting limited mobile capabilities using commercial devices independently of DISA for some time. They have been using iPads in limited capacities since at least 2012, but recent advances in mobile device security, compartmentalization and containerization have made it possible to further integrate iPads into Air Force networks.

Despite the overall containment of top-line IT spending, the above pockets of priority investments will provide opportunities for commercial solutions and service providers that can bring further efficiencies that free up funds for priority areas will find sustained demand.