Contact: Dr. Reginald Turner, Associate Dean of the School of Systems and Logistics, Air Force Institute of Technology
Air Force to collaborate with local Historically Black College and University
to promote the Digital Transformation Inaugural Event
to be hosted by Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH. -- The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), partnering with Central State University (CSU), will host the first Air Force Historically Black Colleges & Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Digital Literacy Summit on June 21-22, 2022.
This hybrid, virtual/in-person event, dubbed the HBCU-Digital Literacy Summit, will be held at CSU in Wilberforce OH. Confirmed featured speakers are Maj Gen Heather Pringle, AFRL Commander, Mr. Alphonso Thomas, LCMC Sustainment Chief, Maj Gen (Retired) Mark Brown, CEO of the Student Freedom Initiative, and Mr. Harry Williams, CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, to name a few.
Topics to be discussed include: The Digital Enterprise and the Department of the Air Force (DAF) Science & Technology, The Digital Depot, Innovation, DevOps and Agile Software Development, opportunities for students and researchers to partner with the AF, and many others.
The purpose of the summit is to address the challenge of creating ‘seamless collaborations’ between the DAF and the HBCU Community. This summit is targeted to reach HBCU students, faculty, researchers, advocates, and related small businesses from across the country. Attendance by DAF personnel is highly desired, as this is expected to be a very rich networking environment.
This inaugural event will be emceed by digital literacy advocate, Dr. Reginald Turner, Associate Dean of the School of Systems and Logistics at AFIT. Dr. Turner is an HBCU graduate of both Tuskegee and North Carolina A&T State Universities.
“There’s a growing number of HBCUs that have become research institutions. Although many were originally teaching focused, they are now becoming world-class research institutions,” Dr. Turner explains.
“What’s missing is a concerted effort by the Department of Defense (DoD) to push ‘opportunity and infrastructure resources’ towards the HBCU Community to bring them onto equal footing with other institutions. By ‘opportunity and infrastructure resources’ I mean financial, facility, human, tools, techniques, practices, and the time needed to become proficient in the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will enable HBCUs to become equal partners with the DoD to solve our nation’s most critical challenges.
“One key outcome of this summit is to form a task force that will deliver a plan that can be implemented to realize the seamless collaboration sought between the DAF and the HBCU Community,” Dr. Turner adds.
Dr. Turner, a retired Air Force veteran, views digital literacy as one of the most substantial challenges facing the military, science, acquisitions, and engineering fields, not only today, but in the years ahead.
“The major components of digital literacy include digital engineering, digital acquisition, data science, cybersecurity, mission engineering, and joint all-domain operations.” Dr. Turner says.
He continues, “An example of digital literacy includes making systems engineering decisions based on physics-based models instead of, say, schematics or blueprints or other drawings. It can also mean being able to perform Product Lifecycle Management on an item from before it is manufactured all the way through it being installed, used, maintained, and retired in a fully digital environment. We will be able to account for every item that’s a part of the acquisition system from the cradle to the grave. The beauty of doing this in a fully digital environment means that all designs are ‘born digital’ and each stakeholder has access to the data, real time, and adjustments can be made real time.”
Dr. Turner is responsible for the daily operations of the School of Systems and Logistics at AFIT, which includes executing an annual operating budget of $12.5 million across three Professional Continuing Education departments and one administrative department. These four departments develop and deliver defense-focused professional continuing education, research, and consulting services to sustain America’s Air and Space Forces technological supremacy.
Additional details, including speakers, times, and registration information will be released in the coming weeks.
The Air Force Institute of Technology, with its main campus located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the Air Force’s leader for advanced, multi-disciplinary academic education, as well as its institution for technical professionals continuing?education. AFIT is committed to providing innovative, defense-focused graduate education and related research, and operationally relevant professional continuing education to sustain the technological supremacy of America's air, space, and cyber forces.?Since 2008, AFIT has been designated as the Air Force’s Cyber Technical Center of Excellence.
Central State University is an 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The university offers degree programs in Education; Engineering, Science, Technology, Agriculture; Business, Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. CSU is also expanding its Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Agriculture (STEM-Ag) academic programming, research, and education.