Air Force Vice Chief Engages Airmen during AFWERX Innovation Workshops
Vice Chief of Staff for the Air Force Gen. Stephen W. “Seve” Wilson met with more than 60 U.S. Air Force enlisted and officer personnel stakeholders during a visit to the AFWERX Vegas innovation hub, a dedicated space for collaboration and problem-solving among academics, business, and Air Force innovators. In keeping with the collaborative energy of the events held at the hub, personnel wore civilian clothes during the 5-day event.
Also in attendance were the Director of Staff, Air Force Headquarters Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, and 412th Test Wing and installation commander Brig. Gen. E. John “Dragon” Teichert from Edwards Air Force Base.
“The Vice Chief gets it, and comes ready to engage,” says Donnie Starling, the director of the AFWERX Vegas innovation hub. “It was electrifying to see three senior Air Force leaders talking conversationally about big Air Force issues and how to improve the innovation culture of the Air Force in the presence of 60 airmen. Those in attendance quickly got the message: This is not the dog-and-pony environment that we all grew up within the military. This is real.”
The 5-day facilitated problem-definition and solution-roadmapping workshop regarded Air Force needs for innovation in training rotary-wing, battle management, and remotely-piloted aircraft operations personnel.
AFWERX was started in 2017 and is funded by the Air Force to support outreach to business and academic communities. The location is one of three such AFWERX centers—the others are in Austin, Texas and the District of Columbia.
Each AFWERX effort is focused on delivering design solutions to Air Force problems faster, more effectively, and more efficiently than in the past. Other AFWERX endeavors include online innovation challenges looking to find off-the-shelf and cutting-edge solutions for Air Force issues; grassroots “Spark Cells” located at Air Force installations; and support for the Air Force-wide annual Spark Tank initiative.
“By developing and networking communities of Airmen, manufacturing, technology, business, and academia, the objective of each of these capabilities is to empower Airmen to get involved with and lead efforts to solve their most pressing needs,” says Starling.
As envisioned by U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in 2017, AFWERX is intended to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces in an ‘outside the fence’ environment, through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top experts. The world is changing quickly—new technologies, new threats, and new opportunities.
To learn more about AFWERX, visit: www.afwerx.af.mil
To learn more about AFWERX online innovations challenges, visit: www.afwerxchallenge.com
AFWERX taps into the power of creativity and empowers intentional innovation that unleashes emergent approaches for the warfighter through a community of intrapreneurs, industry, academia, and non-traditional contributors. AFWERX has the ability to bring together the nation’s best and brightest to collaborate, innovate, fabricate, and present accelerated results to the United States Air Force to better serve the No. 1 customer: the warfighter and operators in the U.S. Air Force.