17:11 PM

CAP to Provide IT Training to Air Force Tech School Grads

Civil Air Patrol is embarking on another innovative partnership with the U.S. Air Force, one that will provide critical information technology training to recent Air Force Technical School graduates.

A memorandum of understanding between the Air Force and its auxiliary was signed this morning at CAP National Headquarters by Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander and CEO, and Rich Aldridge, Program Executive Officer for Business and Enterprise Systems (AFPEO BES) at Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex.

“One of the things that I’m really proud of from an Air Force perspective is there seems to be, from the top level, more of an embracing of innovative solutions,” Smith said. “We’re always on the hunt for areas where we can help our parent service.”

The memorandum of understanding allows for CAP to partner with first-term airmen who have just completed the tech school at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, and are assigned to the BES Directorate. Every six months, four to six software coders will work at CAP National Headquarters to immerse themselves into CAP’s well-established Agile DevSecOps software framework.

In turn, these airmen will provide valuable, additional manpower that will help CAP satisfy increased demands on its small development team.

The BES Directorate recently established one of the seven Air Force software factories within the BES Product Innovation (BESPIN) team. BESPIN is creating in-house custom desktop and mobile applications for a variety of Air Force customers out of the BESPIN location in downtown Montgomery and The Cantina  at Pivotal Labs in downtown Atlanta.

The partnership with CAP affords BES another practical, hands-on training opportunity for Air Force airmen to learn modern development methodologies. CAP being local provides this additional experiential learning without the burden of additional temporary duty costs and lets airmen stay at home.

“This truly is a win-win for CAP and BES,” said Aldridge, adding that his directorate is “front and center” on reforming Air Force business operations – No. 3 on the list of the secretary of defense’s priorities.

“This couldn’t be a better situation for us to bring some of our airmen over here to learn another way to implement Agile development practices,” he said.

Aldridge said he thought the partnership will eventually help his airmen deploy software and mobile capability faster and at a higher quality.

“Air Force users have come to expect the same capability at their fingertips at work that they have in their personal lives … and they should have those expectations.”

“It’s all about figuring out how to do things in a more effective manner,” said John Salvador, CAP’s chief operating officer. “It’s another direct support to the Air Force mission.”

Earlier this summer, CAP was involved in another Air Force support mission — the Pilot Prep Program. The initiative provided potential Air Force fliers with a fast-paced introduction to aviation, making them more competitive for the Air Force FY20 Undergraduate Flight Training Selection Board.

Photos by Susan Schneider, National Headquarters