ARLINGTON, Va. (AFWERX) – AFWERX is announcing the inaugural Accelerate event being held virtually Dec. 7 to 11. The event will highlight how AFWERX is institutionalizing air and space innovation across the Department of the Air Force. It has grown from three successful innovation experiments into one organization that will accelerate affordable and agile capabilities by expanding the defense industrial base as the preferred partner for commercial technology innovation and broadening the network of Airmen creating innovative concepts.
As part of the event, the Air Force’s catalyst for fostering innovation will feature collaborative initiatives, partnerships and engagement opportunities provided through the synergistic efforts of their three new teams: AFVentures, Spark and Prime.
“Innovation inhabits the DNA of the U.S. Air and Space Forces,” said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett. “Now AFWERX unites the creativity of AFVentures, Spark Innovators, and Agility Prime with the expertise of the Air Force Research Laboratory. Every day we celebrate our partnerships, and we welcome new pace-setters who are inspired to help protect the Nation.”
To accelerate collaborative capability development, AFWERX is deliberately establishing relationships with a breadth industry, investor, interagency, and international stakeholders. These partnerships will often focus on nontraditional stakeholders to accelerate the collaborative fielding of novel capabilities using novel risk mitigation.
The event will highlight industry and investment partnerships created through AFVentures. While AFWERX will consider a broad trade space of technologies from across all providers, this event will show how expanding the defense industrial base with commercial technologies will help: 1) identify technology trends; 2) leverage commercial research and development; 3) accelerate fielding to match commercially relevant timelines; 4) drive affordability through economies of scale; and 5) launch new domestic and partner commercial sectors that might otherwise be lost to competitors by providing deliberate risk reduction to commercial industry and investors.
Most importantly, Accelerate will highlight the culture of innovation in Spark. Using advanced connectivity and collaboration tools, AFWERX will empower and expand innovation networks to rapidly identify capability gaps and develop concepts that, when enabled by these new technologies or through this new network, will result in affordable rapid fielding. This empowerment involves training to develop this workforce of the future, as well as pushing the limits of virtual collaboration to access the breadth of ideas and grow the innovation workforce at scales never before imagined.
Last, this event will show the successes of the Agility Prime “flying car” program and introduce new potential “Prime” programs. Fundamentally, with effective technology and concept engagement, AFWERX rapidly drives affordable capability to the field. Successful fielding is essential to build trust in this AFWERX approach. Periodically, diverse partnership engagement will help identify key technology sectors that if “primed” by AFWERX engagement, could advance national security and prosperity. Additionally, to field these programs in an affordable and timely manner, AFWERX will engage in rapid transition process improvements, establishing a core transition competency that will also help rapidly field smaller agile programs.
The five-day virtual event will include a variety of keynotes, fireside chats, workshops, networking opportunities and panel discussions focusing on AFWERX’s efforts to accelerate collaborative capability development, emerging technology trends, research and development, and fostering innovative and courageous problem-solvers for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.
“In partnership with the rapidly accelerating U.S. Space Force and in alignment with Gen. Brown’s vision to accelerate change, the teams in AFWERX: AFVentures, Spark and Prime, are poised to build partnerships to accelerate,” said Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX Director. “As a whole, all three become a force multiplier to enable agile and affordable capability for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force as well as the broader innovation ecosystem.”
To register and learn more about Accelerate, click here.
Established in 2017, AFWERX is a product of the U.S. Air Force, directly envisioned by former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. Her vision of AFWERX — to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. AFWERX serves as a catalyst to unleash new approaches for the warfighter through a growing ecosystem of innovators. AFWERX and the U.S. Air Force are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen the Air Force, which could lead to additional prototyping, R&D, and follow-on production contracts.
Fast Company named AFWERX Best Workplaces for Innovators on the 2020 List, honoring the top 100 businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. AFWERX, U.S. Air Force’s innovation arm and catalyst for fostering innovation within the Air Force, came in at #16 ranking in the top 20 alongside brands such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.