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AFIMSC Innovation Office seeks game-changing ideas

Airmen prepare simulated munitions during the Combat Support Wing exercise at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, on 18 September.

AFIMSC introduced the concept of the Combat Support Wing during an annual Weapons and Tactics Conference. This concept is designed to be an on-call Agile Combat Support force of multi-functional Airmen trained and equipped to quickly establish multiple Forward Operating Locations. The center for I&MS innovation, with the stand-up of the Innovation Office, will view challenges through an enterprise-wide lens to potentially reshape delivery of I&MS operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Armando Perez)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO–LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Innovation Office will launch a program in the new year to help Airmen implement their innovative ideas. The campaign, open Jan. 1-31, 2019, gives military and civilian members of mission support groups worldwide a chance to fund their ideas and partner with innovation experts.

“Our office focuses on an idea, and our goal is to collaborate across the enterprise and help lead the idea towards implementation” said Marc Vandeveer, AFIMSC chief innovation officer. “If we don’t implement, we’re not adding value to the organization.”

Ideas can be submitted though the online collaboration tool Ideascale at https://usaf.ideascalegov.com/a/campaign-home/39.

“Let’s get those brilliant ideas submitted from our civil engineer, security forces, logistics readiness, communications, force support and contracting squadrons,” Vandeveer said.

Full-time innovation specialists with the innovation office will collaborate with Airmen to refine their ideas. AFIMSC will fund some directly; compete others through the $600-million Small Business Innovation and Research Program; and take the three best ideas to compete in an official AFWERX Challenge in 2019, each funded with $200,000 to connect with global experts, start-ups and venture capitalists to prototype and implement.

“When the field submits an idea or challenge, it just doesn’t sit on someone’s desk,” Vandeveer said. “We put money against it and solve problems.”

The AFIMSC enterprise is at the forefront of innovation, said Brig. Gen. Brian Bruckbauer, expeditionary support director.

“We definitely feel the momentum building, and we’re finally making a name for ourselves,” Bruckbauer said. “Operations understands that installation and mission support is a big deal.”

The AFWERX program encourages partnerships with academic institutions, science and technology communities, and private industries with a vested interest in solving complex security issues.

“The goal is to enable Airmen to accomplish their mission better, faster, cheaper and more innovatively,” Vandeveer said.