WASHINGTON — The 16th Air Force and an Air Force cyber software development unit are partnering together on a “low-code, no-code” pilot program that will allow airmen with minimal training to develop software applications they need.
Right now, the DoD is working on developing personnel into expert level coders, but that’s not an easily scalable solution, according to Col. William Waynick, director of the Air Force’s CyberWorx program, an Air Force office that works with industry and academia to deliver new tools to meet user needs. Hence, the pilot program, called the “Other Airmen,” which aims to get airmen just the basic skills they need to get a job done.
“So we’re looking at technology out there that will allow anybody with minimal training to develop applications that they need,” Waynick said at C4ISRNET’s CyberCon virtual event. “Now, they probably want to go into the complex applications like they would have software houses. But we do believe that a majority of applications out there that the users need can actually be taken care of by low-code, no-code.”
Waynick said the team currently has 20 people from across the Air Force and Army working with five vendors on the project. The teams are currently working on applications for equipment tracking, and readiness and training trackers. Another team is working on a contracting pilot to make it easier for industry to submit pitches to acquisition professionals.
“They’re interested in making an application for pitch decks from industry,” Waynick said. “So industry can, instead of just sending a white paper to an acquisition office, they can actually send the entire pitch. And so that way, they have video, and they can do maybe some Q and A’s maybe live, but they’re making an application to to provide a capability for industry to provide pitches as well.”
The airmen and soldiers working on the project participate on the side of their normal jobs, including piloting, logistics or finance. In March, Waynick said that the team will brief Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, commander of the 16th Air Force, on the results of the pilot.
CyberWorx is centered on delivering tool the user can actually us, not focusing on the technology for technology’s sake, Waynick said. Airmen have an abundance of tools to choose from, he said, but the tools don’t always do what the airmen need them to do.
“The issue that I’ve seen, and I’m seeing still, is that there are too many tools. And I would just say, you know, each has a specific function,” Waynick said. “But not everything that the user needs so they have to go to another tool. And a lot of the times these tools aren’t exactly what the user needs.”
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.