JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Innovation, fueled by Airmen, is part of the Air Force’s heritage. For 75 years, Airmen have pushed technological and cultural boundaries to make America the leader in air and space power, with all the strategic advantages that status provides.
The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is carrying the pioneering spirit of the Air Force’s founders forward, nurturing and growing an innovative mindset across the installation and mission support community and beyond.
Since standing up in 2015, the AFIMSC team has developed and implemented many innovations that have transformed the installation and mission support community and, in some cases, the entire Department of the Air Force. Here are some examples:
Agile Combat Support/Multi-Capable Airman – AFIMSC was a key player in the establishment of the Agile Combat Support Multi-Capable Airman program, an idea that grew from the first I-WEPTAC. Under the initiative, Airmen learn core skills from Air Force specialty codes other than their own, including flightline maintenance, security, communications and other agile combat support functions. The concept gives the Air Force the ability to rapidly deploy in smaller, more efficient and agile teams to austere and potentially contested areas. After moving the initial idea forward from I-WEPTAC and leading several exercises, AFIMSC transitioned to supporting Headquarters Air Force, Air Combat Command and the Air Force Expeditionary Center as they further refine, test and implement the program.
Installation Health Assessment – Launched in 2017 as a first-of-its-kind, metrics-based framework to integrate information from authoritative databases across the I&MS enterprise, the IHA grew to over 330 dashboards and 1,700 active users by May 2020. IHA efficiently collects and computes an immense amount of data from across the Air Force, giving commanders access to real-time data to assess performance and make decisions in many I&MS areas including construction and infrastructure, Airman and family services, and security and force protection.
Cost-Savings Tracker – The Air Force Installation Contracting Center’s cost savings tracker keeps the Air Force on track for budgetary savings and cost avoidance. By establishing deliberate, controlled and formal processes for making better business decisions, the CST is changing the Air Force contracting and acquisition culture with a focus on strategic cost management and reducing the Air Force’s operating costs.
Office of the Future - Office of the Future, or O2F, is AFIMSC’s initiative for a sustainable, hybrid workplace that supports flexible schedules, collaborative work and embraces the methods the center has practiced since shifting to a mostly telework environment during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. O2F empowers employees with technology and enables teams to decide where to work, whether that be from home or in the office, on any given day. Through a culture of experimentation and innovation, the center is creating a new model for office work that will serve as a model for the Department of the Air Force.
Category Management – The Air Force Category Management Program, administered by the Air Force Installation Contracting Center, is an industry best practice that assigns cost ownership of common goods and services and develops business intelligence to maximize capability per dollar spent. Since implementation in 2018, the category management program has improved the strategic nature of Air Force acquisitions, reduced contract duplication and saved over $2.1 billion.
Rapid Airfield Damage Assessment System (RADAS) – RADAS, developed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, is the first step in recovering a runway after an attack. It uses small unmanned aerial systems designed to significantly reduce hazardous exposure Airmen might encounter while assessing a damaged runway while reducing the time the airfield recovery and assessment process takes.
Innovation Rodeo – AFIMSC's annual innovation campaign is accelerating change by helping Airmen and civilians across the Department of the Air Force implement innovative installation and mission support ideas. During the Rodeo, AFIMSC invites innovators to demonstrate their ideas, then funds top ideas and connects them with innovation experts. Over the past few years, AFIMSC has received hundreds of ideas, secured more than $65 million in funding and helped Airmen get projects off the ground that are helping Airmen better execute the mission, supporting families and shaping future Air Force installations.
I-WEPTAC - AFIMSC’s Installation and Mission Support Weapons and Tactics Conference, which debuted in 2017, develops solutions for the most challenging issues facing agile combat support operations. It’s the only innovation forum in the Air Force installation and mission support community. During the conference, mission area working groups form and examine challenges to identify deficiencies, shortfalls and developmental gaps and provide senior leaders with actionable recommendations.
Virtual Innovation Support Integration Operations Network, or VISION – AFIMSC led the development and deployment of a web-based software application establishing an Air Force innovation ecosystem tool allowing project entry, management, education, team establishment, collaboration, chat, analytics, task management and tracking of innovation ideas. Developed and tested under the name Digital Innovation Dashboard, the concept was revised using input from AFWERX, Spark Cells and multiple major commands. It resulted in full release with collaboration from Platform One in record time.
High-tech EOD robots – AFCEC developed the Man Transportable Robot System Increment II as a remotely operated, medium-sized robotic system to enable EOD units to detect, confirm, identify and dispose of unexploded explosive ordnance and other hazards from a safe distance. The MTRS II replaced the decade-old Air Force Medium Sized Robot and provides a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.
Contingency Quarters Management and Accountability Platform, or CQMAP – The Contingency Quarters Management and Accountability Platform, or CQMAP, enables standardized global contingency quarters operations. The application gives services managers a real-time, enterprise-wide view of quarters across the globe while providing senior leaders the data needed to account for forces and posture installations to support mission requirements. Designed to be a simple, easy to use system, CQMAP delivers critical agile combat support for contingency operations, non-combatant evacuation operations for natural disasters, and local exercises.
Healthy Food Initiative – The Air Force Services Center’s healthy food initiative is ensuring a more ready force. HFI helps provide Airmen with the right nutrition to increase lethality and meet mission requirements. Programs include Go4Green, Air Force Smart Fueling Initiative and non-appropriated fund and Food 2.0 designed to enhance the wellbeing of service members and their families.
Defender weapons/equipment modernization - AFSFC is integrating and delivering innovative solutions that modernize security forces weapons and ground munitions systems across the Department of the Air Force. Delivering gear, equipment and weapons – from high-speed ballistic helmets and female body armor to the M18 modular handgun and M4A1 carbine rifle – the center equips more than 38,000 security forces members across the Total Force, giving Defenders every advantage over their adversaries.
DBIDS upgrades and DVES – DBIDS Scanners respond faster and with more accuracy than a human checking an ID card. This means with the heavy volume of traffic entering a base during peak traffic hours, entry controllers can scan credentials instead of relying on visual ID card inspections, lessening bottlenecks or choke points at base entry control points. In 2021, AFSFC launched a new web-based enrollment system, integrated with DBIDS, to streamline the visitor pass process and reduce foot traffic at visitor control centers.
Civilian Police Academy – In 2019, the Air Force Security Forces Center collaborated with the VA Law Enforcement Training Center to launch the first 10-week Civilian Defender Academy class to meet Peace Officer Standardization and Training certification. This partnership has enabled the development of additional follow-on courses, including five-day deputy director and 10-day supervisor courses to provide Defenders with improved skills to ensure they are ready to perform integrated defense missions at Air Force installations.
Logistics Detail – AFSFC established the Air Force security forces logistics detail, or LOGDET, equipment centralization center to get valuable, serviceable, state-of-the-art equipment into the hands of Air Force Defenders quickly. Before LOGDET, security forces equipment was scattered at installations across the service with each unit having the responsibility of inventorying and shipping it to a middle location for consolidation before it was sent downrange to those who needed it. Now, everything comes from the LOGDET at Fort Bliss, Texas, and equipment quickly gets to the Defenders who need it.
Natural Disaster Recovery Division – AFIMSC established the Natural Disaster Recovery Division within AFCEC in 2021 to focus on recovering bases hit by natural disasters – like Tyndall AFB, Florida, and Offutt AFB, Nebraska – and rebuilding them with adaptive, resilient, right-sized and fiscally sustainable infrastructure that enhances combat power. At Tyndall AFB, the division is leading the rebuild of the base to be the “Installation of the Future,” a five-to-seven-year rebuild effort that includes 44 new military construction and 260 facility sustainment restoration and modernization projects valued at $4.9 billion.