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AIM-HI Connects Innovators, Senior Military Leaders

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. David Eichaker,
  • Air National Guard

WASHINGTON - Academia Industry Military-Hybrid Innovations hosted a one-day capstone pitch event where teams presented solutions for emerging national defense problems to senior military leaders March 31.

“Since its inception in 2020, 24 AIM-HI teams consisting of more than 100 service members have impacted the Department of Defense operational challenges,” said Lt. Col. David F. Brewer, AIM-HI program director and Air Force Futures innovation officer. “AIM-HI is the Air National Guard’s Total Force Integration innovation certification program.

“By resourcing AIM-HI initiatives for further development and field demonstrations, the Air Force and joint services can fast-track transformational change in preparation for the next fight,” he said.

The program partners with the University of Michigan, Duke University, and Michigan National Guard’s Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center to advance professional development education to military students attending AIM-HI. Industry partners were involved and worked alongside AIM-HI coaches and staff to evolve concepts into feasible solutions ready for prototype and demonstration.

The Cohort 4 pitch event allowed senior leaders from the Pentagon, Joint Base Andrews, National Guard Bureau, the Pentagon and other organizations to hear real-world solutions to complex operational issues.

“This event aligns with senior leader objectives and provides solutions and perspectives for complex problems,” said Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general-Air and commander of the Michigan Air National Guard. “This allows us to capitalize on departmental readiness, solve innovation initiatives, build readiness for the future, and enables service members and industry partners to solve crucial needs.”

The five teams comprised 23 service members and two government civilians representing the Air Force, Army, National Guard, U.S. Southern Command and Air Force Special Operations Command. Teams supported innovative initiatives, including space order of battle and architectures, advanced battle management system and Joint All-Domain Command and Control, and Air, Ground and Sea Surface moving target engagement.

“Our team is pitching drop-in autonomy where we can take a 400-pound electronics package and it becomes a preprogrammed autonomous aircraft,” said Air Force Maj. Soren Olson, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command. “Specifically, we’re looking at using it for logistics as part of Agile Combat Employment and to provide the ability to generate more sorties that could help with the disaggregation problem we face.”

Before the capstone event, team members began this 10-week experiential learning course with three in-person sessions. Members built a team, completed assignments and presented real-world innovation initiatives to senior leaders that advanced emerging concepts impacting the warfighter.

“Completion of this course certifies each team member as a Department of Defense innovator,” said Brewer. “The program provides systematic practices necessary to stimulate and manage innovation in an organization and gives members the perspective and skill base necessary to lead innovation-focused project.”

“AIM-HI provides the chief of staff of the Air Force, secretary of the Air Force, and the director of the Air National Guard the capability needed to execute Action Order #1 and the seven Department of the Air Force operational imperatives,” said Brewer. “We must identify attributes of Airmen the Air Force needs and review personnel and talent management systems to meet the identified needs. Senior leaders will see viable initiatives presented by the teams, allowing leaders to shape the culture of the Air Force and sister services.”