Apps are the new IT systems, says Air Force chief software officer

Rather than rebuild legacy IT systems from scratch, The work legacy IT systems do can be replaced with applications, according the Air Force's chief software officer.

Rather than rebuild legacy IT systems from scratch, the work they do can be replaced with nimble apps, the Air Force's Nicolas Chaillan said.

Chaillan, the Air Force's chief software officer, is also the co-leader of the Department of Defense's Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative, which aims to create and make agile software development tools available across the department.

In remarks at AFCEA's June 4 emerging technology summit in Washington, D.C., he said enterprises would pick and choose applications and services that could quickly and efficiently be snapped into use, while sustaining, but essentially starving off, legacy systems by moving work to those new applications.

The process, said Chaillan, leverages containers so that enterprises can seamlessly deploy software, including automated Authorities to Operate, security updates and other automatic functions and microservices.

"Continuous ATOs mean enterprises can push software" out of the initiative's development shop in real time, instead having to wait six to eight months for accreditation, he said.

Currently, Chaillan said, the initiative has a pool of 20 containers DOD agencies can use, and it will have 172 containers within six months.

A version of this story first appeared in FCW, a sibling publication to Defense Systems.