Pentagon acquisition office appoints software czar

The Pentagon is starting to take software procurement a little more seriously. The Defense Department’s new acquisition and sustainment office created a new software special assistant position April 13.

The job, filled by Jeff Boleng, is responsible for “providing strategic focus and overall policy guidance on all matters for defense software acquisition,” states an April 16 release from the Pentagon.

“Boleng will formulate the Department’s software acquisition strategy, advise Department leadership on latest best practices in commercial software development, support the enterprise to build a team of top-tier software engineers, and work to develop modern software skills in the acquisition workforce,” the release stated.

DoD is working to revolutionize the way it procures software. It’s been moving more toward a trend of software-as-a-service and open source software to save money and build on security.

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Boleng was previously the acting chief technology officer at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute.

He spent 21 years in the Air Force where he spent some of his time teaching computer science at the Air Force Academy.

He deployed as a network engineer as part of the war in Bosnia and also deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as a mentor to the computer science department head at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan.

Boleng has a doctorate and Master of Science in mathematical and computer sciences from the Colorado School of Mines and a Bachelor’s in computer science from the Air Force Academy.

Boleng’s position is one of the first big moves in DoD’s new acquisition and sustainment office. The office was created in February after Congress split DoD’s acquisition, technology and logistics office.

Lord said back in February that she would appoint three major special assistants, one of which will oversee software.

“As we reorganize the way we do business the thread that runs through all of our programs and all that we do is software and I believe that we need to catch up with the private sector and make sure we are using contemporary software development processes,” Lord said.

Lord said she will also appoint a leader in human resources to focus on leadership development and talent acquisition.

“I need someone who can work with me to make sure we have strategic thinking around our human capital to make sure we are developing the next generation of leaders,” Lord said.

The third assistant will specialize in finance to promote a culture of “watching the numbers.”