U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Partners with Google Cloud to Accelerate Collaboration and Drive Research Mission Success
Google Workspace provides secure, external collaboration for the AFRL workforce
Google Cloud today announced that the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has deployed Google Workspace among a segment of its workforce of scientists and engineers. The initial deployment has dramatically enhanced engagement with its worldwide network of external research partners.
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AFRL is a global research enterprise supporting two services, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force. From laser-guided optics enabling telescopes to see deeper into the universe than ever before, to fundamental science that has spawned innovations in quantum computing and artificial intelligence, AFRL rapidly scales discovery to deliver leading-edge technologies for the military. Core to the success of AFRL’s mission is engaging with world-leading scientists, small businesses, large industry, and other government agencies to build communities that drive innovation.
AFRL teams are using Google Workspace solutions like Smart Canvas to simultaneously connect, share, and collaborate on critical projects with complex, research-relevant information—eliminating the toil of email chains and hours-long data file exchanges. Through the video conferencing service Google Meet, AFRL research teams are hosting flexible, virtual meetings to exchange ideas anywhere, anytime. The recent announcements of Workspace Client-Side Encryption, combined with Google’s Zero Trust security philosophy, provide AFRL with additional safeguards, while keeping security measures invisible to end-users. AFRL scientists using the Google Cloud technology are able to collaborate and innovate safely and securely under the standards defined by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
“Covid-19 significantly limited the physical presence of researchers in the lab,” said Dr. Joshua Kennedy, research physicist, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at AFRL. “Google Workspace eliminated what would have otherwise been almost a total work stoppage. In fact, new insights into 2D nanomaterials, critical to future Department of the Air Force capabilities, were discovered using Workspace that would have otherwise been impossible.”
Dr. Kennedy is just one of many researchers at AFRL who have reported a positive, tangible impact on their work as a result of using Google Cloud. For example, a recent survey of researchers involved in the Google Workspace preliminary deployment revealed an average time savings of three hours per week. For AFRL’s highly trained workforce of PhDs, this means more time to dedicate to the mission.
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“We know that the U.S. Air Force places a strong emphasis on modernization and innovation, and this is apparent in the groundbreaking work of AFRL researchers,” said Mike Daniels, vice president, Global Public Sector, Google Cloud. “Knowing that members of AFRL rely on Google Workspace not only to securely and successfully achieve their mission, but also to power new discoveries, makes us proud to support their efforts.”
In fact, early in fiscal year 2021, Air Force Research Laboratory commander, Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle directed AFRL to prioritize ongoing efforts of digitally transforming AFRL and issued a charter establishing the AFRL Digital Transformation Team. The team’s mission centers on the creation of “One AFRL,” a flexible enterprise “that capitalizes on the seamless integration of data and information through the use of modern methods, digital processes and tools and IT infrastructure.”
“Our mantra is ‘collaborate to innovate,'” Pringle said. “We want our alpha nerds to be very connected, and we really want to up their proficiency as a digital workforce where data becomes a third language. We’re incorporating digital engineering into everything we do in science and technology and have a data-informed human capital strategy. We started experimenting with Google Workspace to supplement existing capabilities, and it has revolutionized our ability to collaborate with our external partners and build the best teams.”
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