The 12-member Digital Transformation Office, or DTO, will fall under the AFMC Engineering and Technical Management Directorate. It will focus on creating a digital governance structure and facilitate on-going and new digital acquisition transformation activities across the enterprise.
“This office is the first organization that will stand-up from an enterprise-wide perspective to address digital needs with a long-term perspective in mind,” said James Kyle Hurst, director of the Digital Engineering Enterprise Office, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Technology, and Engineering, who will be the new DTO branch chief. “Though the office sits at AFMC, it will have a perspective for the entire Department of the Air Force acquisition community and encompass activities from research and development to fielding, sustainment and beyond … the entire cradle-to-grave of life cycle management.”
According to Hurst, while a number of organizations are in the process of establishing digital-focused offices internally, these are specific to particular mission sets, such as information technology infrastructure, sustainment activity, munitions, etc. The DTO will look at all digital activities from a broader, enabling perspective.
“This office will look across all of those teams and activities to facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned across the entire department. We will focus on the enablers that will help the program … the ‘this is what you want to do, and here’s how you can do it’ aspect,” Hurst said.
AFMC officially launched its Digital Campaign in 2020 with the goal to create an integrated digital ecosystem that provides enterprise access to the data individuals need to develop, test, field and maintain complex weapon systems. By leveraging modern digital capabilities, the service can decrease the time it takes to move a weapon system from a concept into the hands of a warfighter, while providing the ability to adapt capabilities at speed to meet the requirements of today’s dynamic warfighting domain.
“We are fielding capability much slower than our near peers. We’re taking decades to field our major complex weapons systems, whereas our near-peer adversaries are doing it in half the time,” Hurst said. “We need to make sure we’re not delivering yesterday’s technology to tomorrow’s fight. We have to address and invest on how we acquire our weapons systems … not just focus on delivering the capabilities themselves.”
The manning for the DTO was authorized under Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr.‘s call to establish “innovation positions” to help advance innovation and modernization efforts across the service. The 12 positions in the DTO are part of the more than 300 positions being established across the command for efforts related to software innovation factories, AFWERX, the Advanced Battle Management System and more.