ABMS In-Field Capability Could Make Working Remotely More Secure

Advancements in cloud computing have made it easier to telework as the new coronavirus outbreak spreads, but the service is still looking for a creative solution that will enable those with security clearances to work remotely.

USAF acquisition personnel must be in a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility to view classified documents, but service leaders are looking to its Advanced Battle Management System experiments for a solution, said Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition.

ABMS incorporates new devices—tabletONE and phoneONE—that were originally designed for Soldiers and Marines in the field to view secret-level data collected by airborne and space sensors. But, Roper said these devices could now be used by acquisition professionals so they can continue their work outside of a SCIF.

The service is working with several companies to potentially procure thousands of devices, “within weeks, maybe even one week,” said Roper, who said he wants the buy to be “at scale.”

The ability to work with classified information is one area Roper is worried about as the outbreak continues to affect daily life, he told reporters. If individual states start issuing more stringent shelter-in-place orders, steps like the “deviceONE” idea will become more important to keeping acquisition on schedule, he said.

“We’re thinking ahead, managing programs, so in the long-term they don’t have impacts,” he said.

The next ABMS demonstration, originally scheduled for April at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., has been postponed to June.