Will Roper, the assistant secretary of acquisition, technology and logistics and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient, recently discussed how the U.S. Air Force should leverage data, IT and agility to remain competitive against adversaries across the digital landscape, FedScoop reported on Tuesday.
Roper is responsible for and supervises Air Force research, development and acquisition activities totaling an annual budget in excess of $60 billion for more than 550 acquisition programs. Roper serves as the principal adviser to the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force for research and development, test, production and modernization efforts within the Air Force.
Roper noted that federal acquisition heads should bring deep technology expertise that extends to modern software development. He added that government officials should continue to leverage software development, cloud, Kubernetes technology and other software development processes to support the Air Force and Space Force.
Moving into 2021, Roper noted that programs such as Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) and IT as a warfighting system should remain as a top priority. ABMS is the Air Force’s technical contribution to the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept. The system links all networks to share data across the services.
Roper noted that IT is an integral part of warfighting. “IT and connectivity may be the most important thing” to sustain, Roper said. Much of the funding of technology competition has been allocated into research and development (R&D) dollars.
To continue to recruit young airmen and to sustain advancing technologies, dollars needed to be allocated to not only developing new technology but also to investments in back-end systems, Roper added. “Buying the lowest-price technically-acceptable solutions, a tech company would never do that,” he said.