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Virtual visitor control center among eight finalists for AFIMSC’s inaugural ‘Innovation Rodeo’

One of the entries for this year's AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo.

Virtual Visitor Control Center/ Visitor Kiosk, submitted 2nd Lt. DJ Smith, 502nd Communications Squadron, JBSA-Lackland, Steven Dews, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and Tech Sgt. Brian Lawley, 802nd SFS, JBSA-Lackland, and Senior Master Sgt. Alvin Arguello, AFSFC. In the photo, the visitor center at United States Air Force Academy in Colorado was an Enhanced Use Lease project led by the Air Force Civil Engineer. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Thousands of visitors flock to JBSA each week to attend basic military training graduation events. The influx of visitors results in a lot of extra paperwork.

Each of the visitors for each event must be pre-vetted by Security Forces and provided a paper visitor pass to enter the installation,” said Col. Jeffrey Carter, 502nd Security and Readiness Group commander at JBSA-Randolph. “When Security Forces produces the paper visitor passes, the passes are distributed back to the trainee who must in turn mail the paper pass to their loved ones. The visitor must maintain the visitor pass until they arrive at JBSA and then produce the paper pass to an installation entry controller.

“Visitor processing is a time-consuming process that neither security forces squadron has the manpower to support,” the colonel added.

Carter and his team of 2nd Lt. Djozelle “DJ” Smith of the 502nd Communication Squadron, Officer Steven Dews of the 502nd Security Forces Squadron, Tech Sgt. Brian Lawley of the 802nd SFS and Senior Master Sgt. Alvin Arguello of the Air Force Security Forces Center devised a way to eliminate the paperwork with the Virtual Visitor Control Center, or V2C2.

The V2C2 will allow Security Forces personnel to email a link for a vetted visitor to download a QR code or bar code to a Smart Device. Upon arriving at the installation, the vetted visitor would show the QR code or bar code on their Smart Device to the installation entry controller who could use a Defense Biometric Identification System scanner and verify the authority to enter the base by scanning the QR code or bar code.

The team submitted its idea to the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s “Call for Innovation” campaign during January, and it was chosen to participate in AFIMSC’s inaugural “Innovation Rodeo” March 1 in San Antonio.

The rodeo follows on the heels of AFIMSC’s “Call for Innovation” campaign which ran through January and received 122 submissions and more than 2,000 online votes. Carter and his team, along with seven other finalists, will pitch their ideas to an expert panel. Competitors with the top three ideas will receive $200,000 to get their ideas to prototype via AFWERX and tech accelerators.

“Our senior leaders have committed to participating in weeklong events, where it’s all about the Airmen and their ideas,” said Marc Vandeveer, AFIMSC chief innovation officer. “We want to transition those ideas into the innovation ecosystem and AFWERX challenges so we can get those ideas into prototype and then the implementation phase across the I&MS enterprise.”

Other finalists chosen were:

• Installation Access Control of the Future / Artificial Intelligence Facial Recognition, submitted by Lt. Col. Carlos Hernandez, Air Force Security Forces Center, JBSA-Lackland and Col. Jeffrey York, 31st Mission Support Group commander, Aviano AB, Italy. Lt. Col. Jesse Goens, 31st Security Forces Squadron commander at Aviano, will present on behalf of York.

• “What’s Up” App, submitted by Col. Houston Cantwell, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., who will be accompanied by a USAFA cadet.

• Supply Inventory Management System App, submitted by Master Sgt. Nicole Haun, 87th MSG, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, who will be accompanied by two contractors.

• An app to assist in contracting officer representative duties, submitted by Roger Westermeyer, Air Force Installation Contracting Agency enterprise sourcing support director. Lt. Col. Karen Landale, 773rd ESS, will present on behalf of Westermeyer.

• Leverage existing Geospatial Information System AI learning for facility roof inspections, submitted by 2nd Lt. Alexander Bow, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron, JB-Lewis McChord, Washington, and Capt. Gregory Hege, Air Force Central Command, Al Udeid, Iraq. Hege is deployed, and Bow is partnering with 1st Lt. Tim Sobieski, 627th ABG, JBLM.

• Self-adjusting wide area detection using unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles, submitted by John Shackell, AFSFC.

• Emergency airfield lighting system auxiliary motor upgrade, submitted by Senior Airman Jordan Pitts, 319th CES, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.

The culture of innovation Vandeveer and his team are fostering excites Carter.

“This effort is exactly what the Air Force is about,” Carter said. “We take wicked problems and find revolutionary ways to solve them. This culture of innovation encourages critical thinking and then rewards that critical thinking with an expedited process to develop that solution.”

Carter said the V2C2 is not only in the running for AFIMSC innovation office dollars, it’s also competing for 502nd Air Base Wing funding.

“We hope to test this concept soon to help eliminate paper passes for the thousands of visitors who attend Army, Air Force and Navy graduations at Fort Sam Houston and Lackland,” he said.