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ICON Center duo represent OSI at groundbreaking fellowship

AFWERX is a community of Air Force innovators whose goal is to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the Air Force by enabling thoughtful, deliberate, ground-up innovation across the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

AFWERX is a community of Air Force innovators whose goal is to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the Air Force by enabling thoughtful, deliberate, ground-up innovation across the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

QUANTICO, Va. --

Two members from the Office of Special Investigations, Investigations Collections Operations Nexus Center, participated in the highly competitive inaugural AFVentures 2020 Fellowship in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 10 to March 20, 2020. 

Special Agent Laura Russell, assigned to the 2nd Field Investigations Squadron, and Intelligence Analyst Mary Chung, attached to the Technology Protections Branch, joined 19 other emerging leaders from across the Air Force spectrum of missions and domains, in the six-week industry immersion program.

Fellows are endorsed by their military units to focus on industry, emerging technologies, and best practices, while developing professional networks within the private sector and among one another.  

Attendees learned about the different elements of the new Rapid Acquisition Process (RAP) used in several areas of the Department of the Air Force (DAF).

SA Russell says the fellowship provided an unparalleled opportunity to acquire innovation and industry experience.

“While immersed in Silicon Valley culture, the first fellowship iteration was also an opportunity for me to step back from my day-to-day responsibilities as an OSI agent and think creatively about how we leverage technology, processes and data to execute our mission,” she said.    

The Fellows were also exposed to a couple of commercial industry technology startup companies, allowing them to gain a better understanding of how these startups interact with the RAP which is handled by AFWERX.

Established by the Secretary of the Air Force in 2017, AFWERX is a community of Air Force innovators who strive to connect Airmen to solutions across the force: whether that be funding, collaborating with industry, or simply receiving guidance on a project.  

According to its website, AFWERX is a catalyst for agile Air Force engagement, across a variety of contributors, to create transformative opportunities and foster an Air Force culture of innovation.

Ms. Chung echoed SA Russell’s fellowship takeaway, but from an analyst viewpoint, particularly in support of Protection/Research, Development and Acquisition.

“It’s given me an incredible insight, into the structure and requirements of the emerging technology commercial ecosystem that the government relies on so heavily,” she said in part. “I’ve also brought back tools of interest back to my team. One of which has helped immensely already in an ad hoc request for information.”