Sparking innovation requires dedication and drive, and the team at the Collaborative Environment and STRIKEWERX spent 2021 making innovation a reality for Air Force Global Strike Command.
The result of a partnership between Cyber Innovation Center and AFGSC’s Office of the Chief Scientist, these accomplishments will stretch Command-wide.
STRIKEWERX kicked off the year revolutionizing Emergency Aircrew Alerting by sourcing three new technologies.
Pelican Defense will harden the EAR system from an electromagnetic pulse and another small business, IOT/AI, will produce a personal alerting device that can reach aircrews at any location, at any time. Q Networks will demonstrate a 5G network capability to connect aircrew members with command posts.
This method of fielding technology transition solutions has already paid dividends with Air Force officials estimating the program’s cost dropping from $450 million to $223 million.
“This project increased competition and saved the government money on the program of record. Additionally, it identified a local company, Pelican Defense Technologies, who can support the nuclear mission with their products,” said Joshua Fisher, CIC program manager for the EAR challenge.
STRIKEWERX sourced two companies to prototype one-of-a-kind capabilities via the B-52 air refueling simulator.
Air refueling is a crucial skill for pilots to learn, but it is also one of the most challenging. In addition, training is expensive to maintain and time consuming to conduct.
This unique simulator is estimated to save $4M per year in costs and nearly three months in training time.
“STRIKEWERX’s process was different from any other approach I’ve ever taken to find a solution for our problem. It’s exciting to survey the wide range of cutting-edge technology that is out there,” said Lt. Col. Warren Carrol, project champion.
CE also saw major gains in bringing innovative solutions to Global Strike’s challenges.
BetaFlix, is developing a solution that will help the largest group of security forces in the Air Force. The Ruston, Louisiana -based company is building a mixed reality trainer for the A-Circuit security device used in Intercontinental Ballistic Missile fields.
The A-Circuit, similar to a vault door, requires combinations to be changed regularly. Being off by a single digit or even bumping the device can result in costly and time-consuming repairs.
Since May 2019-2021, there were 41 issues that cost more than $376,000 and more than 2,000 manhours. The new trainer will reduce these issues via an immersive learning experience.
“The A-Circuit Trainer will be an immersive learning experience combining the best elements of various learning techniques. It will impact security forces by equipping them with the necessary skills to avoid resetting the A-Circuit or replacing it altogether,” said Jim Davison, owner of Beta Flix.
The Portfolio Data Engineering Platform, or PDEP, is a project that will change how decisions are made in Air Force Global Strike Command.
This groundbreaking approach to using data within the Command hosts data for decision makers to optimize mission effectiveness and use of funding.
PDEP has the potential to change the way the entire Command operates. Whether by automating repetitive tasks that soak up Airmen’s time and increasing speed of reporting, or by making information more available and revealing previously unknown, but useful information.
2021 saw CE and its partners in the Command build a platform infrastructure and demonstration of revision 0 at the PDEP expo.
“PDEP has the potential to change the way the entire Command operates. Whether by automating repetitive tasks that soak up Airmen’s time and increasing speed of reporting, or making information more available and revealing previously unknown, but useful info,” said Crawford Watkins, CIC project manager for PDEP.
The Striker Airmen Coder program saw another successful group of students develop software solutions that will mean a variety of long-term impacts.
Ten Airmen and eight students participated, creating seven software products.
“Airmen leave with skills to better serve their squadron, problem-solving software solutions are developed, local university students gain both industry and military exposure, and industry is provided access to potential future employees,” said Lauren Wheless, CIC program manager for SAC.
Projects aren’t the only area where CE and STRIKEWERX had major impact in 2021.
In 2021, CE and STRIKEWERX hosted 69 events with nearly 2,000 attendees and an economic impact of more than half-a-million dollars.
No event symbolized innovation more than the STRIKEWERX Spark Sprint, or S3. S3 highlighted and amplified 13 Airmen’s innovative ideas from across the command.
“We are helping all these Airmen push their projects where they need to go. S3 serves to help Airmen’s ideas be heard,” said Lt. Col. Luciana Augustine, S3 organizer.
While 2021 was a year of new highs, successful innovation only goes as far as your latest idea. CE, STRIKEWERX and The Office of the Chief Scientist are committed to making those ideas a reality.