SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
AFWERX Community Development Director, Joey Arora, visited Spangdahlem Air Base March 14, 2019, to encourage 52nd Fighter Wing Airmen to pursue innovative solutions to everyday problems and cause process improvement.
Arora came at the request of U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Bailey, 52nd FW commander, his former group commander during a deployment to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
“Innovation is part of the mentality of if you are able to fight tonight, you are going to need to be able to realign resources, realign capabilities to be able to do things,” Arora said. “In a wartime capability things are going to change, the environment is going to change constantly and innovation is about adapting to those things, improvising and overcoming.”
Spangdahlem AB has been on the cutting edge of innovation and efforts are being taken to ensure the base maintains that forward position. Master Sgt. Jonathan Maas of the 52 FW winning Spark Tank this year illustrates the fruit of these effort and the wing’s level of innovation.
“The future of the innovation program relies on the change in mindset and culture that Saber Nation has. We have been at the top of the innovation game in the United States Air Forces in Europe for several years,” said U.S Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Cumbie, 52nd Wing Staff Agencies wing process manager. “I would like to see that continue moving forward. That comes with education, with not being afraid to submit ideas, with being able to take a concept and knowing exactly where to go with it.”
Spangdahlem will launch a campaign on April 1, 2019, where Airmen from Spangdahlem and the 52nd FW’s geographically separated units can submit ideas that will be voted on among Saber Nation, Cumbie said. The ideas that receive the most votes may receive squadron innovation funds to help make the idea a reality.
The Air Force is using outdated technology and methods for aircraft maintenance, while the commercial world is advancing by using algorithms that help with performing preventive maintenance, resulting in a significant reduction in aircraft down time, Arora said.
Innovation could help the 52nd FW, USAFE and the Air Force stay prepared for future challenges.
“Regardless of the enemy we face, shifting our culture for our Airmen to be more innovative, bringing in the best commercial practices and challenge the way we are doing business is how we will stay one of the best Air Forces in the world,” Arora said.