Project NEXUS tests developing technologically ready Airmen

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Robert Guest
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Air Education and Training Command officials began a beta test aimed at learning the best ways to introduce more technologically ready Airmen into units July 9, in Austin, Texas. The program, Project NEXUS, is expected to fuel organic technology problem solving efforts for Airmen in their day-to-day workplaces.

From July to November 2019, 18 Airmen will study data science, software development, or UI/UX design in Project NEXUS, an Air Force beta program created by AETC’s Technology Integration Detachment and hosted by AFWERX-Austin.

“Project NEXUS will drive internal AETC expertise in modern data science and mobile design and development,” said Capt. Kyle Palko, Project NEXUS project manager. “It will empower Airmen to become elite digital professionals who deliver strategic data and development capabilities.”

The three cohorts of six Airmen, who come from various Air Force specialties and backgrounds, will either specialize in data science, software development or application design.

“After the 120-day training at Project NEXUS, participants will return to their home units armed with the skills to more effectively solve their career field’s operational problems,” Palko said. “If the Project NEXUS prototype ends up delivering outsized output and capable personnel and can scale cost effectively, then we could look at scaling up Air Force-wide. If not, it would still be a success because we'll take lessons learned and roll them into other Air Force initiatives.”

A technology boot camp-style of training was chosen for Project NEXUS because its learn-by-doing focus has already proven viable in the open market. It also allowed Project NEXUS to source training from existing technology boot camp companies.

“Each cohort will train and study but also build a final, real-world capstone project that solves a data science or software development problem in AETC,” said Lt. Col. Eric Frahm, director for AETC’s Technology Integration Detachment. “These technology boot camps are the backbone of the modern industry and we’re bringing those tools into the Air Force.”

Project NEXUS is another way that AETC and Air Force officials are looking at further empowering the Air Force’s greatest resource: the Airmen, Frahm said.