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Digital University: Enabling a force for the future

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Maintaining the U.S. Space Force’s strategic advantage in the space domain requires cutting-edge technology, but it also takes a workforce that can effectively and efficiently leverage that technology. To develop its force for the future, the Space Force is working with industry to provide educational resources in topics like Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Software Development, Product Management, Design, Cybersecurity and Cloud Architecture through its Digital University.

“Today’s Guardians are pioneers of our nation’s Space Force; every one of us must help forge a Digital Service that welcomes continuous learning, collaboration, boldness, diversity and adaptiveness,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond. “The majority of us experience space through data. We must be able to harness and expertly exploit that data to ensure the domain remains secure, stable and accessible.”
Digital University provides a wealth of knowledge that will give Guardians access to the courses necessary to hone their digital fluency.
“DU incorporates the latest content from industry, academia and government, and answers the call by centralizing resources for personnel to upgrade their digital fluency and develop organic technical expertise within the force,” said Lauren Knausenberger, Chief Information Officer for the Department of the Air Force.
This paradigm shift from the traditional four-year degree program to a dynamic and operationally focused learning model, has been echoed by the leading innovative tech giants within the civilian and commercial sectors.
Currently, Digital University has teamed up with six different vendors – Udacity, Udemy, Data Camp, Pluralsight, Cloud Academy and Coursera – to offer Guardians learning across 10 Cyber schoolhouses with pathways in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Software Development, Design, Business and Cybersecurity, to name a few. These capabilities and pathways are further enhanced by the consortium of experts including Google, Amazon Web Service and Microsoft, as well as institutions like Stanford and Notre Dame.
Thousands of Guardians have participated in and provided positive feedback on the 5-course Force Multiplier program meant to establish a baseline of digital fluency across the service. This particular program consists of the following courses; Digital Product Development, Digital Engineering, Modern Infrastructure, Cyber Security in the DoD, and Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.
“This is exactly what I wanted,” said Capt. Blake Abrecht, Space Operations Command space control engineer. “I’ve taken lots of programming classes, but this was at the exact level I needed.”
Space Force leadership is looking to incentivize Guardians who pursue upskilling opportunities through Digital University, and are also working toward adding the Supra Coder Software Development Immersive to the university’s learning path.
“We want to ensure that Guardians are rewarded for their pursuit of bettering not only themselves, but the Space Force as a whole,” said Dr. Lisa Costa, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, United States Space Force. “We are working with personnel leadership to tie certifications and digital badges earned into talent management systems, and we are working with Delta 13 to credit Continuous Learning Points for courses taken through DU to help assist with placing Guardians in future assignments and career progression opportunities.”
For more information about offered courses and how to register, visit digitalu.af.mil.
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