JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – For many, online shopping is a major timesaving convenience. The ability to order and have goods delivered without a trip to the store is a game-changer. A flight sergeant for the 422nd Security Forces Squadron at RAF Croughton, England, Staff Sgt. Dillan Whitehead noticed an immediate need and benefit for adopting a similar system for his squadron.
Originally from Ursa, Illinois, Whitehead identified a timesaving solution for squadrons that currently have a less than optimal supply chain request and deliver structure. He provided some insight on the creation of his idea and his thoughts about coming to San Antonio as one of eight finalists for the 2022 Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Innovation Rodeo in August.
Q: What is the name of your idea?
Q: What is the problem you’re solving?
Security forces supply sections are not located at our squadron. We have to travel to the squadron to meet with supply to either get them to go to the warehouse with us or set up a time to meet there.
Q: What is your solution to that problem?
A website similar to any shopping site that allows you to place an order for your gear and have it dropped off by supply.
Q: How did you come up with the idea?
My operations superintendent was conducting post checks and talking about change and how minor processes could be improved. I brought up the idea for a website for supply and he let me run with it.
Q. How will your idea help the Air Force deliver installation and mission support capabilities, improve installations or support families in a better way?
My idea will ease processes in security forces, which will enable faster turnaround on in-processing Airmen. This ensures they are certified on a duty position faster, which will allow them to defend the base more competently.
Q. How does it feel to be selected as a finalist for the 2022 Innovation Rodeo?
It’s pretty surreal. This idea started and we didn’t even know if it was going to work, so to see it come this far is pretty exciting.
Q. You’ll be spending a week in San Antonio, learning from leading innovators, collaborating with industry partners and networking with peers, senior leaders and innovation teams. What are you hoping to gain from that experience?
I’ll be trying to gain as much knowledge as possible and hopefully network and make connections with senior leaders I otherwise would not have the opportunity to talk to one-to-one.
Q: Why do you think innovation and a culture change that empowers Airmen and Guardians is important in today’s Air and Space Forces?
Innovation is something that will make everyday lives easier for Airmen and Guardians. With the right innovations, you can cut out the need for certain jobs enabling more efficient manpower use and, ultimately, create a more effective team.
The 2022 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo will be streamed live on Aug. 19. For more information on the rodeo, visit https://www.afimsc.af.mil/innovationrodeo/.