By 1st Lt. Gerald Peden | Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — In a world that continues to develop technology that can process more and more information, how does Air Force Global Strike Command go about processing its own data, while advancing resources to achieve the mission?
Air Force Global Strike Command’s Science and Technology Directorate, also known as ST, worked to answer this by guiding the collaborative effort between not only command directorates, but local organizations through a Partnership Intermediary Agreement to develop a robotic process automation implementation plan to increase productivity and efficiency throughout the command using bots.
By collaborating with Deloitte Consulting LLP to provide technological expertise, and the Cyber Innovation Center to support the program assessment guidance, ST ensured an effective technology plan would be in place for the implementation of robotic process automation development.
Maj. Ryan Chapman, technology advisor to AFGSC Chief Scientist, said the program is designed to do menial tasks such as data analysis for organizations and increase accuracy in operations by having an automated system in place to process tedious duties, allowing Airmen to complete higher-level tasks that require critical thinking.
“The bot can be used in any organizational system that requires repetitive or menial tasks,” Chapman said. “We all may have that part of our job that requires us to copy and paste data or information from one website, Excel sheet, or PowerPoint slide, to another, but bots can automate these steps, allowing us to all focus on higher-level work and Airmen fresh out of tech school will be able to perform the higher-level tasks they were trained for.”
The operation and assessment of this program is being led by AFGSC’s Directorate of Operations and Communications, also known as A3/6. Using nine automatable processes provided by A3/6 as candidates, the robotic process automation is tracked by Deloitte Development LLC, to evaluate how much money and time would be saved by the program’s implementation. This evaluation will support A3/6 with narrowing the candidate processes down to three for the next step of the trial phase.
Keith Tonnies, Deputy Chief of Current Operations at A3/6, said robotic process automation may be used to support a variety of organizations, including personnel, supply and logistics, to enhance the credibility of processed information. He also said the program will save the command money by reducing the amount of time members must focus on menial tasks, while allowing for more organizational duties to be completed in less time.
“It can be repetitive work that takes time to do, especially when you’re double-checking and ensuring you haven’t made a mistake,” Tonnies said. “You want to ensure the data you’ve pulled is correct, but with the RPA [robotic process automation] it’s automated, so there’s no mistake.”
The final selected robotic process automation programs are planned to be implemented first at A3/6 by early fall and later expanded to the rest of AFGSC.
“The process and coding should be scalable, developed for a single use case in a single shop, but ideally, it will be scaled from one small use case to all Air Force Global Strike Command bases,” Chapman said.
This effort to provide efficient processes for AFGSC members and enhance production quality is a part of the goal of continuously promoting innovation and collaboration throughout the command.