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The Air Force is looking for a ‘Billy Mitchell moment’ in a Hackathon

The Air Force hosted the BRAVO 0 hackathon earlier this year — the first secret-classification hackathon with 80 hackers working on a so-called “air-gapped” system at Nellis Air Force Base.

While on the surface the hackathon may have looked like an exercise in better data sharing to drive rapid software development for weapon systems, Stuart Wagner, the service’s chief digital transformation officer, told FedScoop he is searching for a “Billy Mitchell moment” to spark innovation and change the way the service thinks about data and software development.

Billy Mitchell, the storied father of the modern Air Force, fought to disrupt the U.S. military’s conventional thought, arguing that the future of war was going to be dominated from the air. Similarly, Wagner believes the U.S. military must have a massive transformation to account for defense and conflict in a digital, data-driven era.

We believe that we are at the dawn of a new way to fight,” Wagner said on a new episode of the Let’s Talk About IT podcast. “And that way to fight is with data.”

Wagner discusses that, the results of the hackathon and what he has planned next during a wide-ranging episode of the podcast.

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Let's Talk About IT


Every month, Let’s Talk About IT explores the most pressing topics in federal IT in-depth, including modernization, cybersecurity, data management, emerging technologies and more. During these engaging conversations, top experts from across the government technology community join the FedScoop team for a look into how they are navigating the trends and challenges they face in this space every day.

Hosted by Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell is Vice President of Community and Content and Editor in Chief of FedScoop and DefenseScoop. He leads an award-winning team of reporters in providing breaking news and analysis on the ways technology is transforming the operations and services of the federal government and U.S. military. Prior to joining Scoop News Group in early 2014, Mitchell embedded himself in Washington, D.C.'s tech startup scene for a year as a tech reporter at InTheCapital, now known as DC Inno. After earning his degree at Virginia Tech and winning the school's Excellence in Print Journalism award, Mitchell received his master's degree from New York University in magazine writing while interning at publications like Rolling Stone.