PDEP: The drive for data-driven decisions

  • Published
  • By Capt. Earon Brown
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Air Force Global Strike Command partners at the Institute of Defense Analysis gave command leadership a demonstration of a Portfolio-level Digital Engineering Platform at the Bossier City Cyber Innovation Center, Sept. 27.

The demonstration was a proof of concept for the platform, which is one of several initiatives the command is undertaking to field tomorrow’s Air Force -- faster and smarter. Once developed, the platform would serve to develop the best courses of action using a repeatable data-driven analytical process to connect vast amounts of mission readiness data, and allow leaders to assess risk when making decisions.

“This is about looking for avenues for the command to build margin with the force that we have,” said Gen. Tim Ray, AFGSC commander. “We have a set number of bombers and ICBMs, so how do we do more with what we have? We need to find those areas of investment where we can actually increase that margin in our capabilities, using proven data and an existing set of analytic software.”

The presentation began with a briefing on the progress of the months-long project, leading into an interactive software demonstration that showcased digital tools with the potential to aggregate and analyze data sets and make data more useful for decision makers.

“This was driven by the command’s necessity to make more data-driven decisions,” said Dr. Anthony Carver, AFGSC Chief Scientist Office executive director. “This is an effort to put more rigor behind the answers that we were giving, whether it was during the Program Objective Memorandum cycle, or in other cases. That was the beginning for what PDEP became.”

The end goal for the program would be evidenced-based decision making using data to inform recommendations for future force decisions, manpower and budgets in the Air Force POM.

“This is about bringing data to our day-to-day business processes to come up with more defendable decisions and solutions,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Chmielewski, POM Shop Program Integration Branch chief. “In the interactions within the command and outside the command we want to be prepared to talk with facts and figures to drive towards the desired end state in capability and capacity.”

Through utilizing the wealth of data already collected across the command, PDEP presents an opportunity to make an efficient process that consolidates information from different places to create a better picture.

“As a business process, action officers in working groups and planning teams would bring their data and analysis together, and come up with decisions not built in their traditional stove pipe or directorate trade space,” added Chmielewski.

As a collaborative effort involving the Federally Funded Research and Development Centers Program, Small Business Innovation Research Program, and the command’s Partnership Intermediary Agreement with the Cyber Innovation Center, PDEP makes use of off-the-shelf capabilities and tailors them to the needs of AFGSC, in order to cut the time needed to compute data through automated evaluation.

“Today was the first major review in the project’s initial discovery phase to identify the tools, architectures and partners that will continue to mature the program,” Carver said.

Building on processes already in place, PDEP and other programs like it will help drive the process for sustaining the nation’s long-range precision strike force.