Warfighting software brand is giving back to ecosystem that helped build it

Press Release

BOSTON (09 September 2021) – A Kessel Run software engineer’s submission to the messaging-topology-operator for RabbitMQ was accepted by the open source community recently. RabbitMQ is one of the most popular open source message brokers and it’s used worldwide at small startups and large enterprises. RabbitMQ can be deployed in distributed and federated configurations to meet high-scale, high-availability requirements, according to their website.

Kessel Run, officially known as Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Detachment 12, is a software development and acquisition’s unit. The submission came from the All Domain Common Platform - one of Kessel Run’s three major BRANCHES. ADCP is the fully-managed platform for Command and Control (C2) applications. These applications run globally to enable distributed and disaggregated operations.

Nick Barber, the software engineer with Kessel Run who made the open source submission, said there are software engineers around the world that use resources like RabbitMQ to source code and seek solutions for issues. The RabbitMQ change is a permanent fix, which will allow sourcing queues, users and permissions from different namespaces.

“For RabbitMQ, there are people who post issues on their (messaging) board saying something doesn’t work or that they’d like someone to add a functionality,” said Barber. “Anytime it's obvious that you’re using someone's open source, that gives them the ability to dedicate more resources to it, and it's proof that it's the direction they should be moving in.”

Barber added that contributing to open source communities is a two-way street.

“It works for us too, because now we’re able to leverage the expertise that exists as part of other teams, and gives access to other products that we can use right out of the box,” he said. “It’s validation that what they’re doing is actually being used by people and it's the right kind of place to leverage those resources.”

Barber added that because Kessel Run is both fairly early on and also trailblazing a lot of their processes, taking advantage of resources in the open source community helps prove what they do works and will have lasting effects.

“It can be frustrating when you know something is going to work, even if it ends up eating all your time,” he said. “It's also very rewarding, because it lets you think about what you’re doing and you can eventually allocate time and energy to things the right way. There’s not always solutions that exist out there. You wake up everyday, not knowing what the next challenge is, but you do know you have to try to fix something for someone.”

ADCPs main goal is to make it simple for developers to scale their applications, services, and data across our global points of presence for better performance and resiliency. ADCP focuses on enabling developers to go from idea to production in real-time.

ADCP provides everything developers need to write, develop, and secure applications for Command and Control. That is critical for C2 applications in the Department of Defense. ADCP provides managed static, dynamic, and dependency vulnerability scanning services that scale to meet requirements.

“I work with some very smart people who’s goal everyday is to try to be useful,” Barber said. “It's easy to come up with an excuse for not doing anything new and just maintaining your current course of action. It’s all about the team and the people you’re with everyday.”

Matt Brown, the deputy director of engineering for ADCP, said it’s good having problem solvers like Nick around. Brown has been with Kessel Run since inception, and has held titles such as the chief engineer, chief technology officer, deputy branch chief of data, and the director of research and development.

“I think it shows that we’ve got good people who understand the tech and are also at the level to be able to contribute back,” said Brown. “It also says alot about Kessel Run and how we’re able to attract folks like Nick and others who want to work and solve problems the way that they do.”

Brown added that it's been amazing being a part of the same ecosystem in the DoD, knowing that he and his peers have been integral in Kessel Run’s progression.

“This milestone is one of the stops on the train to becoming a legitimate software development agency,” said Brown. “I feel good that we’ve been able to progress this far, especially as a DoD organization. We’ve been able to keep our momentum this entire time without running dry.”

Kevin Smith, a Kubernetes services product manager, said that celebrating wins, like Nick's, is a crucial part of sustaining a successful team.

“Regular celebration not only helps us know that we are moving in the right direction and allows members to take pride in their demonstrated competence, it also results in greater confidence and morale for everybody,” said Smith. “Contributing back is the most fundamental part of participating in the open source community! It allows you to hone skills, find mentors, become a teacher, and create agency. You become an agent of the change you want to see.”

Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
Detachment 12, Kessel Run
Media and Communications Engagement