Katherine Hammack is executive director, government and public sector, at Ernst & Young. She is former assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment.
On Base: You have played a unique role in helping installations evolve. What has been the biggest surprise you’ve watched happen?
Hammack: I’m very excited to see the rapid adoption of renewable energy systems and the implementation of microgrids with energy storage. These have started small but have significant potential to increase resilience and readiness.
On Base: What innovations do you see for the future?
Hammack: The most interesting innovation is robotic process automation (RPA), which enables a software “robot” – a program – to replicate the actions of a human being interacting with the user interface of a computer system. RPA is a rule-based system that executes processes without the need for constant human supervision and connects multiple systems without changing the existing IT landscape. When applied to the right tasks, RPA can manage huge amounts of data, while providing significant time and money savings. RPA eliminates the “stress” often associated with repetitive, mechanical, complex tasks and allow us to “re-center” and improve productivity and creativity.
On Base: What do you consider to be “the base of the future”?
Hammack: The base of the future will not look like the “fortresses” or “forts” of today. The backups at access control points will be gone, because those control points will be automated. We will increase the efficiency and availability of transport on base through autonomous electric vehicles that are scheduled or on-demand, not privately owned. Technological innovation in a cyber secure environment will enable us to get back to human and engage in relationships, activities and projects that are more inspiring and align with our purpose.
First in a series highlighting the faces and ideas of Installation Innovation Forum in Miami, March 4-6