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VCSAF tours AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing

Elizabeth Miller, En Route Care Training Department Deputy Chair at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, speaks to Gen. David Allvin, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff in a C-17 trainer during his visit to AFRL's 711th Human Performance Wing Apr. 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Allvin was briefed on Ready Medics and Aeromedical Evacuation training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge)

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin (center) is briefed about ready medics and aeromedical evacuation training by Elizabeth Miller, Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine En Route Care Training Department deputy chair, in a C-17 Globemaster III trainer during Allvin’s visit to Air Force Research Laboratory's 711th Human Performance Wing, April 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Richard Eldridge)

Dr. James Christensen, Airman Sensing and Assessment Product Line Lead at the Airman Systems Directorate, speaks to Gen. David Allvin, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, during his visit to AFRL's 711th Human Performance Wing Apr. 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Allvin was briefed on Wearable Sensors and Technology. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Richard Eldridge)

Dr. James Christensen, Airman Sensing and Assessment Product Line lead at the Airman Systems Directorate, speaks with Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin about wearable sensors and technology during his visit to Air Force Research Laboratory's 711th Human Performance Wing, April 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Richard Eldridge)

Dr. David Burch, Airman Systems Directorate's Airman Biosciences Division, Lt. Col. Nathan Maertens, Aerospace Physiology Division Chief at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Air Force Research Laboratory commander, Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle and Dr. Rajesh Naik, 711th Human Performance Wing Chief Scientist stand in front of the centrifuge and discuss aerospace physiology partnerships with Gen. David Allvin, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, during his visit to AFRL's 711 HPW Apr. 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge)

Dr. David Burch, (center back) Airman Systems Directorate's Airman Biosciences Division, Lt. Col. Nathan Maertens (left middle), Aerospace Physiology division chief at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, Air Force Research Laboratory commander (center front) and Dr. Rajesh Naik, 711th Human Performance Wing chief scientist (right), stand in front of a centrifuge while discussing aerospace physiology partnerships with Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin (center) during his visit to AFRL's 711th HPW, April 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Richard Eldridge)

Dr. Richard Arnold, Director, Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, NAMRU-Dayton speaks to Gen. David Allvin, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, during his visit to AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing Apr. 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Ohio. Allvin was briefed on the Navy-Air Force joint capability in aerospace physiology research at WPAFB. They are standing in the NAMRU-Dayton sensors laboratory, one of several laboratories conducting operationally relevant research for warfighter health, safety, and performance. (U.S. Navy photo/Megan Mudersbach)

Dr. Richard Arnold, Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, NAMRU-Dayton director, speaks with Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin in the sensors laboratory during his visit to Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing, Apr. 26, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Allvin was briefed on the Navy-Air Force joint capability in aerospace physiology research at Wright-Patterson AFB. (U.S. Navy photo by Megan Mudersbach)

Navy Capt. Richard Folga, Department Head, Engineering and Technical Services and Program Manager of the Kraken, Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, NAMRU-Dayton and Gen. David Allvin stand on a balcony in front of the Disorientation Research Device, also known as the Kraken. The device is a one of a kind national scientific asset that provides a platform for basic science and applied research through simulation of aviation environments with customizable capsule configurations supporting one or two side by side occupants. (U.S. Navy photo/Megan Mudersbach)

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin and Navy Capt. Richard Folga, Engineering and Technical Services department head and program manager, stand on a balcony, April 28, 2021 at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, NAMRU-Dayton, in front of the Disorientation Research Device, also known as “the Kraken,” a one-of-a-kind national scientific asset that provides a platform for basic science and applied research through simulation of aviation environments with customizable capsule configurations supporting one or two side-by-side occupants. (U.S. Navy photo by Megan Mudersbach)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) --

Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David W. Allvin visited several Air Force Research Laboratory facilities April 26 to see how the 711th Human Performance Wing is leveraging data and collaboration to enable, enhance, sustain, and restore Airmen and Guardians throughout their career lifecycle.

“We are laser focused on Accelerating Change because we owe that to our nation and there are few organizations as critical to that mission as AFRL,” Allvin said. “AFRL is nurturing some truly world-class research in a whole range of leap-ahead technologies … autonomy, artificial intelligence, directed energy, and others. But there are few investments as important as the investment we put in our people.”

In his first trip to AFRL as vice chief, Allvin dedicated most of the day into how the 711 HPW’s Airman Systems Directorate and U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine are rewriting the script on how the Air Force optimizes its Airmen to prepare them for the challenges of peer competition.

“To me, this isn’t just about making our Airmen more effective for combat, it’s also about fulfilling our duty to create better citizens. We are blessed with recruiting some of the best America has to offer … I would like to find ourselves in a world where service in our Air Force means unparalleled access to the best this nation has to offer in terms of human performance for our Airmen and their families … and the 711th (HPW) is doing a lot to make that possible.”

The highlight of the visit for Allvin – a self-declared biohacker enthusiast – was the Airman Systems Directorate’s Signature Tracking for Optimized Nutrition and Training, or STRONG, Lab. There, Drs. James Christensen and Adam Strang showcased the lab’s Airman Data Analysis and Performance Tracking System, or ADAPTS, which ingests and aggregates data from “wearables” like a FitBit or Garmin, and applies custom analytics and algorithms to create real-time visualizations with actionable information. ADAPTS enables the STRONG Lab to optimize Airman performance, reduce workload for servicemen and women, and improve decision making for operators, commanders and support, Christensen explained.

The use of wearables to help users track their sleep, daily activity levels, and like proactive health measures is of course nothing new, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought to common consciousness the truly transformative potential of these technologies. “Before wearables became the hype, we were in this space quite a bit,” said
Dr. Rajesh Naik, 711th HPW chief scientist. “We’ve been doing a lot of foundational research going back almost 10 years. But now, we see this explosion in biosciences, due to confluence of AI and microelectronics … it’s caused such a huge inflection in the development of wearable devices.”

The Airman Systems Directorate is currently leading the Air Force’s research in this space and has partnered with the Defense Health Agency to use wearables to provide early detection of COVID-19. The Airman Systems Directorate has already put 9,000 device sets in the hands of all the services, including the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, Air Combat Command, and Air Force Special Operations Command with rollout to 20,000-25,000 users happening soon. 

Departing Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Allvin thanked his hosts – Air Force Materiel Command commander Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., AFRL commander Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, 88th Air Base Wing commander Col. Patrick Miller and 711th HPW acting director, Darrell Phillipson – and encouraged them to continue the fight to optimize the most important weapon system the Air Force has – it’s Airmen.