Air Force’s Platform One Curates DevSecOps Tools
The U.S. Air Force established Platform One to bring platform engineering to life. P1 accelerates mission advantage by providing a secure, centralized software development and delivery platform, a suite of tools and training.
Lt. Col. Brian Viola, P1 materiel leader, describes the approach as vital to the modern military effort. “Today, software developers face an enormously complex set of technologies to securely develop and operate software at enterprise scale,” he says.
“Platform engineering improves the software developer experience by making readily available the tools and infrastructure required for application development,” he adds.
But traditional timelines for developing a new capability can be as long as months to years; Viola says that’s not fast enough to meet today’s rapidly changing modern mission requirements.
To speed production, P1 delivers platform engineering via a curated set of DevSecOps capabilities that developers can use to deploy software quickly.
P1 offers secure tools through its Iron Bank, a hardened container image repository; Docker and Prisma Cloud are among them. “Then we leverage Infrastructure as Code and Configuration as Code” through a value stream the Air Force calls Big Bang, Viola says.
“The integration and orchestration of the hardened containers from Iron Bank within a Kubernetes cluster provide the platform for software developers to develop, secure and operate,” he adds.
P1’s offerings can be readily repurposed from one DevSecOps project to another. “This reusability lowers potential misconfigurations,” he says. This accounts for many software vulnerabilities and also saves the organization from having to reinvent the wheel each time it launches a new project.
In addition, P1 offers a managed Platform as a Service known as Party Bus — a secure, multitenant and multiclassification environment for development, staging and production.
With the Party Bus managed environment, “a software team can quickly deliver security-approved software applications to the warfighter within several weeks instead of years,” Viola says.
“Party Bus provides an all-encompassing platform product including a service desk and a platform operations team, so that software developers can just focus on the software that brings value to the warfighter.”