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Air Force Academy brainstorming at research center is outgrowth of Cyberworx effort

December 31, 2017 Updated: January 1, 2018 at 8:08 am
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Cadets showed off their ideas at the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization in Colorado Springs. Plans include using artificial intelligence to help plan air strikes and creating an application for smart devices that will help the service track equipment. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Work by Air Force Academy cadets could revolutionize how the Air Force keeps tracks of its planes in battle and plans attacks.

The work was on display this month as cadets showed off their ideas at the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization in Colorado Springs.

Plans include using artificial intelligence to help plan airstrikes and creating an application for smart devices that will help the service track equipment.

Col. Max Lantz helped grade the cadet ideas. They're getting an A.

"These are difficult issues they are helping us solve and they will have an operational advantage as they become new officers in the United States Air Force," he said in a statement.

The new designs are part of the academy's Cyberworx effort, which encourages creative solutions for some of the military's toughest problem.

The application to track gear might not sound exciting but is revolutionary for the Air Force, which spends an inordinate amount of time keeping track of its gear.

"Wiping away generations of bureaucratic tradition, the proposed app allows airmen to requisition equipment from a menu of items with a few clicks," the center said in a news release.

"The approval process would be drastically streamlined. Contractors would be able to bid on the equipment requests, including uploading proposal documents, and there would be more overall transparency to the process, including better oversight to prevent duplication of requests."

The proposal to use artificial intelligence to help design airstrikes would be an even bigger change.

"Crunching this data in a matter of moments, the 'Strike Package Automator' will present a viable strike package to the planner, who then evaluates and tweaks it without the many hours of stressful work currently involved in creating a strike package one capability piece at a time," the center said.

"When asked what surprised them most while researching this project, the cadets responded that there are a surprising number of antiquated, paper-based practices involved in strike planning, all of which have had technological solutions for years."

The cadet ideas are more than just a class project. Cyberworx, which was created to help the service solve problems, will work with Pentagon brass and industry leaders to find ways the ideas could be put into use.

The two ideas will be joined by more in the spring as more cadets sign on for Cyberworx projects at the school.

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Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

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