Digital, Network Directorates gear up for Air Force ‘Digital Wingman” competition Published Feb. 5, 2021 By Lauren Russell 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- Innovation officers from the Digital Directorate are encouraging members of the acquisition workforce to take part in an upcoming robotic process automation challenge beginning March 15. The Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate will co-lead the Air Force-wide “Building Digital Wingman Challenge” that arms participants with the tools to program a robotic work horse that can take over repetitive computer-based tasks, freeing the human user for other missions. “This competition will fan the flames of the Air Force digital transformation,” said Lt. Col. Todd Watson, C3I&N Enterprise Cloud Services materiel leader. Watson, who will serve as a panel judge for the current RPA challenge ending this month, said submissions could revolutionize the way acquisition professionals do business, by automating repetitive tasks and driving efficiency across the Air Force. Previous challenges have awarded bots in categories such as “Makes a Difference,” “Covers More Mission,” “Does More with Less” and “Crushes Most Frustrating Task.” “This is an opportunity to create real and useful software applications and create solutions for obsolete processes we use in conducting our acquisition business – a chance to solve that frustrating manual process that can be readily automated,” said Steven Wert, Digital program executive officer. In September, a bot submission by Hanscom AFB Airmen won “Best Robot for Business Impact” during a Vice Chief of Staff-sponsored RPA competition. Officials from the Communications and Information Division (SC) at Hanscom AFB submitted “Bouncer Bot” to the VCSAF competition after implementing the bot at the Hanscom AFB visitor control center, where it assists Hanscom AFB defenders in completing background security checks on guests entering the installation. Instead of entering a guest’s information into various systems by hand, Bouncer Bot automatically pulls names and dates directly from a driver-license barcode and can approve or deny entry in a matter of seconds. Officials from the 66th Security Forces Squadron say Bouncer Bot has reduced the VCC process by 75%, allowing the squadron to refocus 260 days a year from administrative tasks to security. “I encourage individuals and teams to take this on,” Wert said. “Not all efforts need to be fully successful for a great deal of learning and experience to be gained.” Information for the upcoming challenge will be posted to the Air Force Portal.