Luncheon w/ BGen (sel) Chad Raduege, Director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance, HQ ACC

Published: March 27, 2019

Acquisition ReformUSAFCloud ComputingContracting TrendsCybersecurityDEFENSEInformation TechnologyInformation Technology

The AFCEA NOVA Chapter held a luncheon on March 22, 2019. The speaker, Brigadier General (Sel) Chad Raduege, is the Director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance at HQ Air Combat Command (ACC) at JB Langley-Eustis.

Discussion Points:

Brig. Gen. Raduege highlighted several key trends in the cyber, ISR, and software development domains.

With respect to cyber, he noted the ongoing change in mindset to a more targeted and tactical or mission-specific strategy for network defense. The Missions Defense Teams (MDTs) that were stood up were cited as the exemplars of this strategy, specifically in how they are assigned to individual weapons systems. 

Brig. Gen. Raduege also pointed out the continued fusion of the ISR and cyber domains, noting as examples the move of the 24th Air Force under ACC, the A2 / A6 merger, ongoing reviews of synergies between the 24th and 25th Air Forces, and the continued shift towards multi-domain operations.

In the software development arena, Brig. Gen. Raduege noted that the Air Force is adopting the perspective of being a ‘software company’ versus a ‘hardware company’. Two initiatives were highlighted to illustrate this point: 1) the Enterprise IT as a Service (EITaaS) program, and 2) Kessel Run.

EITaaS (see GovWin Opp IDs 175200, 178162, and 162277) highlights the Air Force’s efforts towards adopting an ‘as-a-Service’ model for the entire network. 3 awards were referenced: the Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) issued to AT&T and to Microsoft for ‘Network-as-a-Service’ risk reduction experiments (RREs), and the OTA issued recently to Unisys for Enterprise Service Desks / End User Devices RREs.

The Kessel Run initiative (see GoWin Opp IDs 177458, 177740, 177731) was cited as an example of continued DevOps adoption, noting that the concept is already being applied to Space Superiority as well (a reference to the ‘Kobayashi Maru’ program that is being stood up by Space and Missile Systems Center).

Analyst's Take:

There are several threads worth noting that tie together some of the initiatives Brig. Gen. Raduege had cited. 

In terms of more quickly acquiring and accessing the latest technologies and capabilities, Kessel Run and its counterparts like Kobayashi Maru can be viewed in a broader sense alongside: 1) the increased utilization of OTAs, 2) the Air Force Pitch Day concept, and 3) AFWERX and similar programs.

The re-designation of the Battle Management Directorate as the Digital Directorate can also be seen in this context, albeit from an organizational perspective. This is because the change in name came with the added goal of seeking to ‘standardize and spread Agile DevOps software acquisition processes throughout the Air Force.' In addition, the organization was given new responsibilities that include ‘fielding minimum viable software products as fast as possible, designing for the user, automating cyber security processes, operating on the cloud and integrating developmental and operational testing.’

The discussion of EITaaS, the emphasis on multi-domain operations, A2 / A6 fusion, and MDTs speaks to the Air Force seeking ways to boost its cyber operations capabilities, as well as its move towards a Multi-Domain C2 (MDC2) construct. Among the stated goals of the EITaaS program is to shift the focus of Airmen from ‘delivering IT to providing core cyber operations’ by leveraging the potential benefits an ‘as-a-Service’ model provides.

Underlying all of the above is the increasing adoption of less traditional procurement methods as a way to more quickly obtain needed capabilities. Whether it’s OTAs for Kessel Run or EITaaS, SBIR contracts for Pitch Days and AFWERX, or a shift in thinking to seeing software development as a service (versus as a product), a more diverse array of acquisition methodologies is being explored.