☷Spark Cell brings innovation to 175th Wing
National Guard ( By Press Release office)
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MIDDLE RIVER , Md . - The 175th Wing was the first Air National Guard wing to be awarded funding for two programs that started in its U . S . Air Force Spark Cell earlier this year . The goal of Spark Cells is to move individuals , units or wings forward to meet the challenges of warfighting in the 21st century and bring Airmen innovators together through connections , development and support . From the Sprey Innovation Center of Excellence at Warfield Air National Guard Base , the first funded program the Airmen of the Maryland Air National Guard developed was Cyber Winter Studios . The program gathers all of an Airman’s records into one place on the network while monitoring unit readiness . “You think about any transaction that would take place that requires paper in the force support squadron; this would digitize that process , ” said U . S . Air Force Lt . Col . Joseph Winter , commander of 175th Force Support Squadron and field grade officer adviser . “Think about in - and out - processing , requesting your award and decorations to be updated , or requesting a DD 214 . It is all done via paper , and you literally walk around the base with [checklists to be signed . ] So this opportunity will present itself for members to do all of this digitally . ”The program will also be able to pull up an Airman’s fitness testing status , professional military education upgrade status , and medical readiness in a single snapshot instead of logging into three separate systems . “The readiness focus is geared more toward commanders and supervisors , ” said Winter of the project , which follows a paperless business model . “The program will essentially digest a significant number of authoritative data sources and present them in a single dashboard . ”This FSS program moved forward with help from ARCWERX , an ANG program focused on innovation and reducing bureaucracy . The funds were issued when an outside industry proposal for the project was received , said U . S . Air Force 1st Lt . Kerry Guy , base contracting officer . Guy wants the wing to use the Spark Cell ecosystem for total force collaboration and hopes networking will lead to “discovering and socializing real - world problems . ”The second program from the Spark Cell is the RunDNA program , which aims to prepare individuals for the physical demands of basic military training and promote a healthy lifestyle . “RunDNA is a tool that is going to be used to enhance Airmen and future Airmen’s running performance in real - time , ” Winter said . “Arguably , one of the largest medical disqualifiers from basic military training is the run during the PT portion , so this is an attempt to create better runners before they’re evaluated in the running process . ”RunDNA provides Airmen instant feedback about the best mechanics and tips for running , said Winter . Both programs follow the mantra from Gen . Charles Q . Brown Jr . , to “accelerate change or lose . ” The Sprey Center of Excellence’s charter was signed in January . Work began immediately to secure innovative and creative programs that will have lasting benefits to the Airmen of the 175th Wing . At a recent regularly scheduled drill , Spark Cell members spoke with members of the Junior Enlisted Council to inform them about the need for their input to help the wing remain relevant . “They are a critical part of our process because they are sometimes the youngest and least experienced [Airmen] , and their fresh perspective is an advantage , ” said U . S . Air Force 2nd Lt . Joe Schuman , Spark Cell officer in charge and 175th Force Support Squadron officer . “They are the people that are closest to the problems . They are the ones working on the flight line or cooking in the dining facility that see processes that are broken , so we need their participation to help fix those things . ”The Sprey Innovation Center of Excellence will continue to field ideas from Airmen across the wing to move into the next century while respecting the namesake of the group , Pierre Sprey , who was influential in developing the A - 10 . “It pays homage to his legacy and his contributions to the Air Force , back when he was still very engaged in the new capabilities of our Air Force , ” said Winter , who recognized how Sprey insisted that aircraft be durable and easy to repair . “He was an innovator , so who better to recognize and honor than him and his family by naming the Innovation Center after him . ”
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