Scott Air Force Base News

Air Force expands partnerships for innovative technology solutions

Vice President Mike Pence addresses Airmen during his visit to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 11, before heading to an Air Force technology event in Las Vegas. During his speech, Pence lauded the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center for its rigorous and realistic training via the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and Nevada Test and Training Range.
Vice President Mike Pence addresses Airmen during his visit to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 11, before heading to an Air Force technology event in Las Vegas. During his speech, Pence lauded the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center for its rigorous and realistic training via the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and Nevada Test and Training Range.

Historically, the Air Force has remained the world’s preeminent air and space fighting force by forging innovators from within the ranks, empowering them to problem solve and providing them the resources to do so.

Today, the Air Force is formally expanding this call for innovation through the AFWERX program, which encourages partnerships with academic institutions, science and technology communities and private industries with an invested interest in solving complex security issues.

Airmen are the ones closest to the problems, the people at the tip of the spear, who understand the problems, who understand the enemy, and have the ideas to make us more lethal. It all exists with the people who are there solving the problems on the battlefield.

Capt. Steven Lauver, AFWERX Air Force Technology Accelerator co-director

According to Air Force leadership, the secretary of the Air Force established the AFWERX program to facilitate the integration and implementation of creative and disruptive technology to ensure today’s Airmen maintain the capability advantage over tomorrow’s adversary.

“Airmen are the ones closest to the problems, the people at the tip of the spear, who understand the problems, who understand the enemy, and have the ideas to make us more lethal,” said Capt. Steven Lauver, AFWERX Air Force Technology Accelerator co-director. “It all exists with the people who are there solving the problems on the battlefield. Innovation is important because we are taking the people who understand our problems and enabling them to solve them.”

Private industries are moving exponentially faster than the Defense Department in autonomous technology.

Recruiting innovative solutions from these outside resources requires the Air Force to take a chance before the technology becomes obsolete, Lauver said.

“It’s a higher risk not to act than to act,” Lauver said. “If we don’t begin executing on the innovation conversation then we are going to fall behind on a global scale.”

It’s a higher risk not to act than to act. If we don’t begin executing on the innovation conversation then we are going to fall behind on a global scale

AFWERX Air Force Technology Accelerator co-director

AFWERX is the first step in furthering that conversation. Each AFWERX facility will serve as an innovation hub to bring tools and resources together in physical, open, “first stop” public access points. The goal of the program is to create a mutually-beneficial partnership with innovators and entrepreneurs to generate technology at an accelerated rate, Air Force leadership said.

“When people’s lives are on the line, and time is of the essence, you have to be willing to take those smart risks to solve problems quickly,” Lauver said. “Right now, there is an appetite to try new things and implement new technologies and new solutions to make us better on the battlefield.”

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