Air Force Seeks Free Software Licensing Model From Contractors

  • Air Force wants ideas to transform software licensing
  • Emergent won a five-year contract for licensing in March

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The Air Force is taking an unusual step toward revamping its software licensing model, asking contractors for new ideas on how it can obtain cost-free enterprise-wide tool licenses.

The Air Force’s Digital Transformation Office is holding a virtual “Digital Tools for All” workshop Sept. 16 for contractors and subject matter experts to “ideate on a new, mutually beneficial paradigm for enterprise-wide software licensing.”

The Air Force awarded Emergent, LLC a five-year $420 million contract for the Oracle Enterprise Software License Agreement II in March. At the time, the Air Force said ESLA II was projected to save the agency between $370 million and $1.5 billion, depending on usage.

The Air Force is now looking for new tool licenses “at no monetary cost to the government,” instead, hoping to “trade other resources of value with industry partners,” in what could be a consequential exchange for software vendors.

“Today, Airmen and Guardians in the DAF Acquisition and Sustainment community are up against some formidable challenges as we strive to achieve digital transformation,” the DTO wrote in a release for the event. “One of the most frustrating hurdles we face is a lack of adequate access to the right digital tools and training.”

The event comes as military leaders ramp up work on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, a Pentagon-wide initiative that aims to integrate intelligence across agencies through a cloud-like environment and will eventually carry a multi-billion-dollar price tag.

How to shift the current Air Force software licensing model and what contracting pathways could support a new direction are on the agenda for the September workshop.

To contact the reporter on this story: Josh Axelrod in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at; Naoreen Chowdhury at

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