Critical Update: What Platform One Brings to the Pentagon’s Software Game

Air Force personnel prep open software architecture orchestrated by Kubernetes to fly on a U-2 Dragon Lady at Beale Air Force Base, California, in September 2020. 

Air Force personnel prep open software architecture orchestrated by Kubernetes to fly on a U-2 Dragon Lady at Beale Air Force Base, California, in September 2020.  uis A. Ruiz-Vazquez/U.S. Air Force

Air Force Chief Software Officer Nicolas Chaillan and industry experts explain how Platform One is eliminating barriers to entry for DevSecOps teams.

Pockets of software expertise and innovation are popping up all across the Defense Department: The Navy’s Black Pearl soft-launched last fall and Army Futures Command’s Army Software Factory gathered its first cohort of soldiers in January, joining the likes of the Air Force’s Kessel Run and Kobayashi Maru. 

Each of these groups is focused on improving the way DOD delivers software capabilities using a process called DevSecOps, which stands for development, security and operations and describes a methodology where security is baked into every step of the development process. As these programs gain steam, there’s one that stands out from the rest: Platform One. 

Though the Air Force’s Platform One has been around for less than two years, it’s been designated an enterprise DevSecOps services team for the entire Defense Department, meaning it can support business across the agency. 

What makes Platform One different is that it’s not just a software factory or a software practice. It’s a program that manages services for software factories so that development teams can dedicate their focus to mission applications, Nicolas Chaillan, Air Force chief software officer, said. 

“We needed to make sure that we could stop the waste and make sure that also we remove the barrier to entry for new teams that are struggling, many times spending millions, and often over a year to build a factory instead of building mission software,” Chaillan said. 

Nextgov talked with Chaillan and industry experts who work with Platform One to understand how the program works for the latest episode of Critical Update. Two key themes emerged: the importance of Platform One’s continuous authority to operate and reciprocity. 

For Chaillan, accelerating the transition to DevSecOps across the DOD through programs like Platform One is critical to maintaining a competitive edge. 

“Software is really becoming maybe what's going to be the difference between winning or losing the next battles,” Chaillan said. 

Listen below in your browser or download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform. 

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