DevSecOps forgot about the data – Leveraging hackathons to force risk assessments of classified operational data

Thu. July 21, 2022 @ 11:30 ET

Featured Speaker: Stuart Wagner, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, US Air Force & US Space Force


The typical journey for data in big tech companies entails 1) Instrumentation and automatic collection (telemetry), 2) Quickly proving the value of the data and 3) Collaborating and fusing data to build emergent capabilities and rapidly learn/iterate. In contrast, the Department of Defense (DoD) 1) Lacks or cannot share telemetry data from its weapons and business systems to the enterprise, 2) Provides effectively zero prototyping environments with operational data strangling capability development and 3) Silos, Hoards, and SAPs/Compartmentalizes operational data making Joint All Domain Command & Control (JADC2) impossible to develop and illegal to scale to DoD SECRET warfighter networks. DoD security risk assessments involving data frequently evaluates the risk of fusing/aggregating that data and its resulting classification, but does not consider the risks of preventing DoD engineers and scientists from learning from our data and building unknowable emergent capabilities. Although every DoD data strategy or policy document repeats the platitude “Data is a Strategic Asset,” DoD has a broken data story because operational mission data is effectively unusable and unfusable at enterprise scale.


To demonstrate what happens when USAF unshackles the data and creatively removes security barriers to build emergent capabilities, USAF organized its first department-wide, SECRET classification innovation hackathon at the Nellis Air Force providing weapons system data and allowing participants unprecedented development freedom over six days of 24 hour operations. Eleven teams demonstrated that the US Air Force is capable of developing weapons capabilities in under 1 week. In just three months, over half of the developed projects have been picked up for further development or use by Air Force organizations. One project is already operational on a weapons system in the European theatre, while it’s believed as many as four more will be fielded by Air Force sponsors in the next year.


In this session, Stuart Wagner, the Department of the Air Force’s Chief Digital Transformation Officer, will discuss the original vision and execution for the hackathon series, and how he’s building a coalition to revolutionize modern warfare. If the DoD can develop telemetry OODA loops into all its technology and software projects, warfighters and engineers will rapidly iterate capability and tactics against known and newly discovered adversary capability providing significant agility and a competitive advantage.



  • 11:30am-12:30pm: Featured Presentation
  • 12:30pm-1:00pm: Your Q&A and interaction

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Featured Presenters

Stuart Wagner

Stuart Wagner is the Chief Digital Transformation Officer for the Department of the Air Force, comprised of the U.S Air Force and U.S. Space Force.

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