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US Air Force, George Mason University partner to modernize Warfighter mission training, education and research

  • Published
  • 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central)

Headquarters Ninth Air Force, U.S. Air Forces Central, formalized a partnership with George Mason University for joint research, rapid capability development, warfighter training and education to support command mission readiness. The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement was signed July 14, at the George Mason University Fairfax Campus by Mark Ginsberg, GMU provost, and Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, Ninth Air Force commander.

“Mason is committed to access to excellence in education and innovative student learning experiences, while providing cutting-edge breakthrough research and capabilities to address the nation’s greatest challenges more quickly,” Ginsberg said. “This partnership will strengthen Mason’s unique approach to supporting our military professionals and provide the Air Force access to the world-class thought leadership of the largest, most innovative public research university in Virginia. This model of shared research and curriculum development with the Air Force opens opportunities for additional collaborations with public and governmental organizations.”

“We’re very thankful for this partnership with George Mason, where we see tremendous opportunities for collaboration, thinking creatively and building a culture of innovation,” Grynkewich said.

The partnership will include applied research and development programs with the Volgenau School of Engineering’s national security and defense teams Mason’s Rapid Prototyping Research center, along with digital transformation efforts coordinated through Mason’s Institute for Digital InnovAtion. USAFCENT personnel will also gain access to customized executive, continuing and professional education programs, along with specialized graduate and PhD programs offered through Mason’s School of Business and College of Engineering and Computing.

“As the most diverse and innovative university in the commonwealth, Mason is meeting today’s needs and inspiring future insights of public and private sector organizations,” said School of Business Dean, Ajay Vinzé. “By providing multiple pathways for all students, Mason is fueling success in both the public and private sectors. As a highly ranked university for business analytics, this collaboration will provide direct impact and a transformative experience for the men and women of the Ninth Air Force and beyond.”

“Our relationship with Mason has grown since August 2022, as they collaborated with us early on our journey to become a data-centric organization through delivery of customized data-driven decision-making and senior leadership programs executed by School of Business faculty and Executive Development teams,” said Lt. Col. Chaz LeDeatte, chief technology and data officer. “By December of 2022, the success of the relationship sparked interest in expanding to a formal partnership with Mason across multiple disciplines.”  

Leaders from Mason’s School of Business, the Volgenau School of Engineering and the Institute for Digital InnovAtion began working with USAFCENT warfighters and senior leaders to design research and curriculum. They included programs in innovation and creativity, digital transformation, applied research in systems engineering and integration, program management and military transition of advanced technologies.

“Collaboration efforts will prioritize refining our digital education program, freeing the data, digital and unmanned tech operational validation, and making our air bases more efficient and effective,” said Lt. Col. LeDeatte.  Additionally, Mason and USAFCENT will collaborate on projects related to accelerating the digital capabilities in areas to include digital transformation, cyber security and resiliency, sensor fusion and anomaly detection, predictive analytics, systems engineering, 5G and data analytic capabilities at the battlefield edge, as well as advances in robotics, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and unmanned aerial systems, among other collaborations.