Industry, Air Force software developers come together in collaborative forum Published Feb. 9, 2012 By Shelly Petruska Air Force Network Integration Center COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Air Force Network Integration Center's first Software Development Forum was held Feb. 7 with nearly 100 people from industry and the Air Force attending to discuss future software standards for integration onto the Air Force Network. Mr. Doug Gray, the Air Force Network Integration Center director in charge of network validations, kicked off the four-hour session stating, "We need to save time and money by establishing and enforcing standards up front." He noted standards will help ensure new systems, software and applications are integrated smoothly onto the Air Force Network. Mr. Frank Konieczny, the Air Force Chief Technology Officer, expounded upon these requirements as he briefed key objectives for Air Force's Consolidated Enterprise Information Technology Strategy. "We have to eliminate duplicative work and reduce the risk and difficulty in maintaining and supporting a large number of different infrastructures," Konieczny said. "We want to have good situational awareness of the entire network, and to do that we need to do some standardization across the board." He went on to discuss the need to cut down the time between when a requirement is identified and the point the capability actually gets to the Air Force. He also repeatedly emphasized the importance of feedback between Air Force, DoD and private industry regarding these challenges, and noted this forum as an integral collaboration venue to do just that. Additional representatives from AFNIC, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Air Force Material Command and the Air Force Software Assurance Center of Excellence were among the presenters. Topics included the Services Development and Delivery Process, DISA Cloud technology, Networthiness, software development standards and security, enterprise resource planning lessons learned, and AF application hosting environments. This inaugural event marked the first of many planned forums to partner with industry in establishing a common set of standards for deploying systems and software onto the network, with the ultimate goal of providing secure, reliable network capabilities to Airmen faster and more cost effectively. Overall feedback from attendees from both the Air Force and private industry was very positive. "I am excited to see the software development forum venue. I think it's a great idea," said, Ms. Leslie Blackham, an independent consultant defense contractor. "On the industry side, it is really easy to lose track quickly of changes coming down in policy. The software development forum provides an opportunity to stay engaged on where the Air Force and DoD are heading." She added that she was looking forward to participating in the upcoming online collaboration events essential to this new initiative. AFNIC's role in launching and managing the software development forum is imperative to keeping the channels open between Air Force and private industry. "Industry partners tell us they can't find the standards or didn't know they existed, and we need to understand where industry is going so we can help each other. This forum is changing that," said Robert Poulin, AFNIC's lead planner for the SDF. This "help us help you" attitude was an overall key theme throughout the event and will be an on-going thought process as this software development forum matures in the coming months, said Poulin. Follow on events for SDF are scheduled to start in March. AFNIC will be hosting several webinars through Defense Connect Online which will be announced through AFNIC's website at www.afnic.af.mil. The next physical gathering is tentatively scheduled for August at the Air Force Information Technology Conference in Montgomery, Ala. Upcoming topics to be discussed in the online forum include Air Force Directory Services, Enterprise Resource Planning Performance Lessons Learned, Public Key Infrastructure Mobile Code Signing, Active Directory and Exchange consolidation and Certificate of Networthiness Process. To learn more about the forum or to download the briefings from this week's event visit www.afnic.af.mil/library/sdf.asp. Those with a common access card can also check out the collaborative SDF wiki on MilBook at https://www.milsuite.mil/wiki/AFNIC_Software_Development_Forum.