Outlook for IT Spending at the Air Force Through 2022

Published: August 22, 2019

USAFBig DataCloud ComputingCybersecurityForecasts and Spending

The outlook for the Department of the Air Force spending on Information Technology (IT) over the next five years shows signs of very modest growth.

Multiple challenges have impacted IT growth prospects at the Air Force, from fiscal to organizational. However, support for core missions and high-priority objectives will sustain key IT investments.

As part of Deltek’s latest Federal Information Technology Market, 2019-2024, we forecast that spending by the Department of the Air Force on contracted IT goods and services will climb from $12.5 billion in FY 2019 to $13.6 billion in FY 2024 reflecting a 1.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). (See chart below.)

Deltek’s forecast projects increased spending on IT services followed by communications and network services and software, with relatively flat spending on hardware by comparison on over the forecast period.

IT Investment Drivers

Despite organizational and other changes the Air Force will still sustain key IT priority areas such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data, and emerging technologies.

The Air Force continues to pursue diverse cloud options that leverage multiple providers from DISA to commercial clouds providers. The service sees commercial cloud solutions as an efficiency and effectiveness enabler. Air Force is pursuing Enterprise IT-as-a-Service (EITaaS), but infrastructure improvements are needed to achieve the desired end state.

On the cybersecurity front, Air Force’s evolving vision and strategy to increase the security of its information and systems is morphing into an approach that is transforming organizational and operational structures and spawning new efforts to tackle the cyber challenge. The Air Force has reorganized staff around the areas of information warfare, cyber, electronic warfare and intelligence to integrate ISR, offensive cyber, defensive cyber and tactical communications, moving cybersecurity out from the CIO’s office. The resulting A6/A2 ISR/Cyber directorate represents a $72B portfolio across the Air Force. The service is also combining the 24th Air Force/Air Forces Cyber and the 25th Air Force to integrate the service’s cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and ISR capabilities under a single entity.

The Air Force is making strides in improving data management and increasing the capacity to harness the value of huge data stores for operational effectiveness and increased efficiencies. Under its digital strategy, the AF is seeking to leverage large data stores for decision making by using state-of-the-art analytics tools by mid-2021. The AF will also create authoritative data sources available for analytics. Additional efforts will leverage artificial intelligence, human-machine teaming, quantum computing and other technologies to accelerate the speed and quality of analysis.

Finally, to leverage emerging technologies the Air Force’s evolving air dominance technology strategies and network modernization efforts will direct significant resources to emerging technologies that impact combat platforms in the air, space and cyberspace. The Air Force is developing a new strategy to guide $2.8B in S&T investments, including creating a new service-wide CTO. The new objectives focus on developing and delivering transformational operational capabilities, reforming S&T leadership and management, and expanding the Air Force’s scientific and technical enterprise.

Get a free report summary of Federal Information Technology Market, FY 2019-2024.