Katrina Jackson (center back) with CAP National Headquarters’ information technology team meets with Airmen from the Program Executive Office-Business Enterprise Systems at CAP’s facilities on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Sept. 18, 2019. Image credit: US Air Force

Civil Air Patrol is embarking on another 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 earlier in September by the CAP national commander and CEO, Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, and Rich Aldridge, program executive officer for Business and Enterprise Systems at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Alabama.

“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 technical 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 at Maxwell to immerse themselves in 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.

Katrina Jackson of CAP’s information technology team is already working with the first group of Air Force software coders, who reported to national headquarters for introduction to CAP staff and program orientation. Jackson said she is treating the airmen like interns, which she says is good for them as well the CAP software developers.

“They learn mentorship and sharing, which helps in the development of everyone,” she said.

The BES Directorate recently established one of the seven Air Force software factories within the BES Product Innovation, or 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, Alabama, and The Cantina located at Pivotal Labs in downtown Atlanta.

The partnership with CAP affords BES another practical, hands-on training opportunity for their 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.

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

Senior Airman Daniel Shepard, one of the airmen who reported to national headquarters, said he hopes his six months with CAP will not only get him and others up to speed on the Agile DevSecOps framework, but also help him better understand the “whys” of software development.

Airman 1st Class Christian Wojteczko agreed, saying, “I expect to bring skills back to the Air Force for me to use, as well as the other airmen.”

Source: US Air Force