Two innovative Space Command ideas are in Air Force competition

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- Air Force Space Command recently nominated two innovative ideas for the Air Force’s Spark Tank competition.

The Spark Tank competition calls for Airmen to pitch their innovative ideas to the Air Force’s senior leaders through their major command and culminates in a showcase of those ideas in Orlando, Florida at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium Feb. 21-23, 2018.

Both ideas originated from the 45th Space Wing.

The Force Support Squadron ID Card Process Improvement idea is designed to reduce waiting time for dependent and retiree ID cards by electronically submitting documents. The process has already been implemented at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida and has saved countless hours of customer waiting by reducing wait times for appointments by 94 percent, and wait times at the 45th Space Wing Military Personnel Flight by 74 percent. Capt. Jessica Jenkins, 45th SW MPF commander, estimates that if this idea were implemented Air Force-wide, it could save thousands of man-hours.

“By capitalizing on existing technologies to streamline the dependent ID card issue process, we were able to reduce wait times for appointments from up to six weeks to only three days,” said Jenkins. “Our technicians were also able to reduce processing time from 20 minutes to only seven.”

The Operations Group Eastern Range Program for Innovative Change is an initiative to modernize and increase capabilities using commercial off-the-shelf technology, replacing fixed transmission systems with mobile ones, and upgrading standard definition recording with hi-definition video, voice, and digital archive solutions. The 45th SW has already utilized this program to improve their capability to collect and distribute telemetry and weather data during launches, saving the Air Force $4.3 million and up to $900,000 per launch.

Each MAJCOM winner of the Spark Tank competition will receive $2,500. The overall Air Force Spark Tank winner will receive a crystal trophy. In addition, finalists will receive a funded TDY to the AFA Symposium in Orlando.

Air Force Space Command’s Shark Tank panel preceded the Air Force Spark Tank competition and is the way for AFSPC employees to get an idea into the Air Force-wide contest.

AFSPC’s most recent Shark Tank panel was held over two sessions on Dec. 4, 2017 and Dec. 19, 2017.

The panel was comprised of Gen. Jay Raymond, AFSPC commander, Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner, AFSPC deputy commander, and Mr. Scott Anderson, AFSPC executive director.

Officially dubbed the AFSPC rapid-process review, the AFSPC Shark Tank initiative enables total force Airmen throughout the command to pitch their process improvement ideas directly to senior leadership. Panels will be held approximately three times a year and all AFSPC Airmen, active duty, guard, reserve, and civilians, are encouraged to submit their ideas for review.

During the two December sessions, the panel heard eight presentations on innovative ideas from Airmen at the Space and Missile Systems Center, the 45th SW, and the 460th Space Wing.

The presentations were a wide variety of process improvement ideas. They included a proposal to have Thrift Savings Plan catch-up contributions renew automatically, creating a space internship for engineering students, a new approach to office printing, automation of administrative systems, collaborative enterprise applications, pharmacy discrepancy tracking, and electronic contracting.

The panel determined that all eight presentations had merit and asked for additional research in order to mature and possibly implement the ideas.

Airmen who wish to present at the next AFSPC Shark Tank panel should look for the next data call in the coming weeks and contact the AFSPC Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services (HQ AFSPC/A1) Improvements Office at afspc.a1mi.workflow@us.af.mil for a submission template. Proposals should include a wing commander or equivalent endorsement.

Once submitted to the HQ AFSPC/A1 Improvements Office, Airmen will be given the opportunity to present directly to AFSPC senior leadership at the next review panel.