The Air Force should not be married to processes just because that is the way things have always been done, instead it must foster an environment where ideas are truly welcome through the ranks, said Air Force Space Command leaders. Working cooperatively with other services, industry, and other nations can help strengthen the capacity of the Air Force and free up airmen caught in circular tasks to operate more efficiently, said AFSPC boss Gen. John Hyten at a November event co-sponsored by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and RAND Corp. “Industry does 100 times better than we ever will” at things like email, Sharepoint, and data storage, Hyten said. “Why do we have thousands of airmen operating email?” Hyten asked. If services like IT were outsourced to industry, which he argued has invested way more money into ensuring capability and information security, then airmen would be free to think more about fighting network threats, doing missions inside of the network, learning how to anticipate attacks, and thinking proactively about moving forward in the cyber environment. Instead, they’re stuck on helpdesks troubleshooting email issues, he noted. “If we move to the cloud, we’ll have a resilient, better defended system and be able to reallocate limited manpower to developing systems,” Space and Missile Command head Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said. Both agreed that the Defense Department must stop operating in a silo and learn to trust others with higher budgets and greater capability to do the tasks they’re experts at executing.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.