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Air Force opens five-day virtual meeting to accelerate innovation

Air Force opens five-day virtual meeting to accelerate innovation
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Joanne Bass, L, listens to a presentation at the AFWERX Austin, Texas hub, in August. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force 

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force began a five-day virtual event, AFWERX Accelerate, on Monday to highlight its culture of innovation.

The event this week will include discussions, interactive sessions and explanations of successful interactions between the Air Force and the private sector.

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This year the event will highlight planned partnerships in 2021, and 2020 successes of partnerships with industry, interagency and investment innovators, and "disrupters across the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force," an Air Force statement on Monday said.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett opened the event with a welcome message, and Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle, Air Force Research Laboratory commander, and Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director, added introductory remarks.

AFWERX, started in 2017, specializes in low-funding opportunities to circumvent military bureaucracy and bring private sector entrepreneurs into Air Force programs. It grew from three experiments in innovation to a single organization encouraging breakthroughs in improvement.

The program is now divided into three separate efforts, according to the Air Force.

AFVentures, the commercial investment arm of the Air Force, is meant to create simple pathways for commercial innovators and private capital investment to help the with Air Force problem-solving.

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Spark looks to empower enlisted personnel to generate ideas and execute solutions, and Prime identifies new technology sectors with strong commercial potential that could yield significant military and economic advantage.

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