Data and data information has become crucial for operational and warfighting needs in the 21st century. Therefore, in his new position as the chief data officer (CDO) for the U.S. Air Force, Brigadier General John M. Olson, plans to leverage edge computing and advanced technologies to understand and drive data for mission needs.
“Timing is everything, and data has become a strategic asset,” Olson said during a GovExec virtual event on Jan. 24.
Whether at the tactical edge in degraded, low-bandwidth battlefield scenarios or simply working remotely away from mission data centers, USAF personnel require access to real-time data and analysis to do their jobs effectively. So, Olson plans to leverage edge computing and integrate the latest artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to drive data and data information.
“Edge computing for the Air Force is the ability to do agile combat. It’s the ability to do computing locally adding to lasting compute capacity, and that allows work to get done where it needs to get done,” Olson said. “Being able to have and bring these capabilities to segregated locations is critically important.”
Olson added that the USAF is striving towards efficient business and operational capabilities; hence, it’s critically important to have data at the speed of need, even from remote and challenging environments.
Additionally, Olson is looking at the broader ecosystem of the branch and its data collaboration with other service branches like the Space Force and essentially trying to comprehend the service’s capabilities in data exchange across multiple domains, security levels, and personnel.
Olson also explained that USAF’s priority is to strive towards efficiency, and it is trying to leverage innovation across edge computing and emerging technology.
“There have been extraordinary advancements in innovation. The scale and scope of what we are able to do now compared to just five years ago is a tremendous leap. But we need to continue to foster this sort of innovation,” Olson said.