AFMC Command News

Hanscom directorates innovate to support SecAF operational imperatives

  • Published
  • By Jessica Casserly
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Digital and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks Directorates here are developing creative pathways and solutions to support Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives.

Achieving the pivotal operational capabilities and functions identified in these imperatives will enable the Air Force and Space Force to maintain competitive advantages. Both the Digital and C3I&N Directorates at Hanscom have key roles in helping to shape and lead this vital work.

Steve Wert, program executive officer for Digital, is the co-lead for OI three, Moving Target Engagement, which focuses on the ability to identify, track, and engage numerous targets simultaneously with a combination of air-and-space-based capabilities.

“We were tasked with understanding the Department of the Air Force’s current capabilities to deter or prevail in a highly contested fight, identify critical gaps, and make recommendations,” he said.

The C3I&N Directorate is also focused on OI support.

“C3I&N is committed to enabling the Secretary’s operational imperatives, especially enabling the Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management Directorate run by Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, PEO for C3I&N. “Our directorate is working diligently to develop, test, and field war-winning information technology and cyber capabilities, in order to maintain the competitive edge in the information warfare domain for the entire Department of the Air Force and Joint Force.”

Kendall paired operational general officers with Air Force acquisition executives to lead these efforts. Wert was appointed to lead OI-3 because of the current moving target indication capabilities in the Digital portfolio.

“These operational imperatives were a huge undertaking with only a handful of Digital Directorate leaders read into the effort and I can’t thank the team enough for what they did,” Wert said. “We already had a sense of urgency and understood the need to accelerate acquisition, but what the OIs did was pinpoint the most important capabilities we need to develop and field at speed.”

The Digital Directorate’s most visible OI effort is the acceleration of the E-7 acquisition, which is being managed by the directorate’s Airborne Warning and Control System Division.

“The E-7 program is a critical hub in the Air Force’s air moving target indicator and battle management capabilities,” said Thomas Ramsey, the E-3 and E-7 System program manager and chief of the AWACS Division. “It provides target detection and communication devices to help link warfighting assets. The E-7 program team recognizes the need to ‘accelerate change or lose’ and they are taking every opportunity to streamline acquisition.”

According to Kevin Kelly, technical director for Digital, the OIs are highlighting the importance of digital acquisition and innovation.

“These imperatives have helped our Digital innovation team focus on how the Air Force will use autonomous systems in the future for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; electronic warfare; and communications,” he said. “As autonomous systems become more prevalent, Digital’s programs for intelligence, air operations, mission planning, force protection and other focus areas will need to adapt.”

C3I&N’s Defensive Cyberspace Branch is helping to support OI-7, Readiness to Deploy and Fight, by accelerating the modernization of a collection of existing capabilities to address cyber threats.

“One of our teams in San Antonio is developing an integrated defensive cyberspace system that will allow the DAF to leverage the power of big data for more robust cyber defenses,” said James Robison, C3I&N’s Defensive Cyberspace Branch materiel leader.

Col. Justin Collins, senior materiel leader for C3I&N’s Enterprise IT and Cyber Infrastructure Division, said his team is “deeply entrenched” in supporting several OIs.

“We are developing capabilities to enable the Advanced Battle Management System digital infrastructure, delivering secure and resilient networks to bases, providing reliable and secure communications at the tactical edge, and making sure forces have access to data and applications to carry out their missions at any time and any place,” he said.

Matthew Reyburn, the technical director of Innovation for C3I&N and a Hanscom Innovation Team member, said the innovation team is also seeing “huge value” in their efforts to assist with the Digital and C3I&N Directorates’ support of the OIs.

“We’ve really refocused our efforts on the innovation team in how we are driving at novel technical solution insertion in our programs of record,” he said. “Efforts like the Hanscom Innovation Team Pitch It program, the Lantern Technical Transition lab, the Nexus Joint Innovation Council, and Hanscom’s partnership with MassChallenge accelerate our learning to tackle the OIs.”

Maj. Andrew Bettinger, chief innovation officer for Digital and the Hanscom Innovation Team chair, agreed that the operational imperatives are helping Airmen leverage dual-purpose commercial technologies and gain access to capabilities the Air Force needs.

“One example of us tackling the operational imperatives in the innovation space is our partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Security Innovation Network, which allows Hanscom personnel to participate in an accelerator with small businesses with key emerging technologies,” he said. “This accelerator is focused on resilient basing, moving target engagement, and the collection, processing and sharing of information.”

The Digital and C3I&N PEOs are also looking for synergistic opportunities to make OI strides. Wert and Genatempo joined other OI team leads for an OI Defense Industry Base event at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, April 11-13, to collaborate with critical industry partners.

Chief Master Sgt. Alan Weary, 66th Air Base Group and Hanscom installation command chief, said Airmen across the 66 ABG are also partnering with acquisition teammates in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to advance warfighting capabilities and support the OIs.

“The ABG is a power projection platform that provides base operating support through community and state partnerships, mission support services, and ready medical care to assigned Hanscom personnel, families and mission partners,” he said. “OI-7 will ensure we have the supporting information and facilities to deter our competitors, deploy Airmen into the theater, and continue to maintain air superiority.”