News Search

Dyess Program Encourages Innovation

  • Published
Think back and consider the military assets used in the Vietnam War. Most technology was ahead of its time then, but is now virtually obsolete. This change is because of constant innovation by military members and their partners, and it continues to this day.

The Rapid Capabilities program at Dyess is giving Airmen a voice to be innovative. This program assists and advises Airmen in the process of how to see ideas to their fruition. The program has assisted in many innovative projects such as the creation of training simulations, virtual reality modules and numerous other efficient advancements.

“This enables us to provide mentorship to Airmen with ideas and then connect them to resources that can assist in creating innovative solutions,” said Maj. Anthony Bunker, 7th Bomb Wing director of rapid capabilities. “The Air Force needs fresh perspectives from Airmen and we strive to empower them.”

Although technological advancement is important, noticing a problem and developing a solution is where innovation begins.

“New technologies, equipment and resources can be important because they spark the imagination as to what’s available,” said Bunker. “More importantly though, they bring new approaches to solving old problems.

“Our real focus is on finding creative, status quo defying solutions,” continued Bunker.

Rapid Capabilities and the incorporation of innovative thinking here has matured under the guidance of Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th BW commander.

“Rapid Capabilities formed by Col. Sumangil,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Caprio, 7th BW deputy director of rapid capabilities. “He is one of the ambassadors for innovative thinking, and was one of the developers for this methodology to attack problems with innovative solutions.”

Knowing that most problems are often noticed by those who encounter them frequently, inviting the Airmen that are the most likely to see systemic flaws and giving them the opportunity to create a solution, can produce great results.

“We want Airmen to come forward because they are the voice and the pulse of Dyess,” said Caprio. “They are the core of what we do, and that’s why we have to come together with these ideas. They are the change and they can be the difference.”

The Rapid Capabilities program personnel don’t only hear out solutions, if seemingly viable, they also provide guidance on the remaining steps to develop a plan.

“We take that person with an idea or solution and we cultivate them,” said Caprio. “From there, if the idea gains traction, we’ll put that person in line with companies, research centers and other big proprietors like AFWERX and Air Force Research Laboratory to then get their idea funded.”

Caprio explained that he is always welcome to new and innovative solutions, whether it’s suggested in an organic conversation or through a walk-in or scheduled appointment.

The desire of innovation is forward thinking. Looking ahead is fundamental in order to maintain Rapid Capabilities, which continues to make the Air Force ready, efficient and cable to respond at a moment’s notice.

The advanced training programs have leveraged $55,000 worth of squadron innovation funds to secure $6.35 million worth of funding towards 14 big projects at Dyess in 2019.

“The spirit of rapid capabilities first existed as the 28th Bomb Squadron advanced training programs,” said Bunker. “As a result of this, Rapid Capabilities is now a full time office with two personnel and we are looking to beat last year’s numbers.”