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Mr. Keith Buchholz – Supporting Innovation Across Guard Nation

The National Guard is a leader and proponent of modernizing our nation’s security and domestic response capabilities. The Guard has always accomplished more with less through creative solutions, resource sharing and problem-solving strategies implemented at the unit and State level. I am honored to serve as the National Guard Bureau (NGB) J8 aligning these efforts across the National Guard enterprise.

Creative solutions to every day and challenging problems start at the unit level.  It is our Soldiers and Airmen that first encounter the issues needing a new approach. As a result, NGB modernization is very much a “bottom-up” effort with strong “top-down” support.

General Daniel Hokanson, the Chief of NGB (CNGB), built modernization and reform into this strategic plan for the National Guard. My focus is to assist NGB leaders and State Joint Force Headquarters to implement and enhance CNGB’s vision. By empowering leaders with knowledge and how to access capabilities, they can implement their service members ideas that drive positive change. Then NGB can capture and share these new enhancements across the force.

Communication with leaders and service members is vital to the success of our efforts. We have a monthly senior leader forum, including Assistant Adjutant General and NGB Directors, called the Innovation Leaders Group. These leaders utilize the forum to share best practices and coordinate with their neighbor states and NGB.  My team also facilitates a bi-monthly forum with field grade officers and senior non-commissioned officers called the Innovation Roundup. In these leadership discussions we facilitate positive changes and solutions throughout the Guard.

Anyone wishing to join in the conversations should contact Mr. Clay McGuyer or Mr. Chuck Crosby of my support staff. Their contact information is listed at the bottom of this newsletter.

I am honored to serve each of you, and excited about the opportunities for success. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to working with the community.

Mr. Keith E. Buchholz, NGB J8 Programs and Resources/Comptroller
Mr. Keith E. Buchholz, NGB J8 Programs and Resources/Comptroller
National Guard Innovation Competition 2020 Videos
Video by Charles Crosby
DIU Blue sUAS
National Guard Bureau
June 1, 2020 | 5:27
The Defense Innovation Unit highlighting the small UAS effort.
More
Colorado Hoist Rescue team, Colorado National Guard partner to save lives in high country

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – The Colorado Hoist Rescue Team and Colorado National Guard partnered to change the way that the military performs hoist rescues.

This innovation shortens the time required for a helicopter to hover above a scene, increasing victims’ chances for survival.

The team sourced a bag-based litter system with an anti-rotational brake that is packaged into a cube with a rescuer and lowered to the victim. Once delivered, the rescuer can unfold the bag and rapidly prepare the patient for extraction.

“This innovation saves lives,” State Army Aviation Officer U.S. Army Col. William Gentle said. “The large-scale Army integration of dynamic litter hoist operations, through a combination of equipment fielding and aircrew training, will improve the safety margin of all aircrews conducting hoist operations, and act as a dramatic force multiplier on the battlefield.”

The CONG has been using this technique and equipment since 2018. The CONG made it to the Semi-Final Round of the National Guard Innovation Competition 2020 with this hoist innovation.

“The improvement of safety in dynamic litter hoist operations will benefit units throughout all services and components, both in combat and domestic support operations,” CHRT Program Manager, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Clayton Horney said. "The Colorado National Guard, through the CHRT, is responsible for all hoist extraction rescues in Colorado, flying an average of 27 missions a year and saving 21 lives during 2019 alone.”

Colorado Army National Guard Aviation support to SAR operations has existed since the CONG acquired its aviation capability due to the limited availability of civilian or state hoist-capable aircraft. Hoist operations are required when a slope is so steep that no part of a helicopter can land to retrieve victims at high altitude.

Local jurisdictions initiate SAR requests for CONG aviation assets. Requests are typically routed through the Colorado Search and Rescue Association to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to the CONG Joint Operations Center in Centennial, Colorado. The Joint Task Force – Centennial Commander then directs the COARNG to support civil authorities to save lives and reduce suffering by providing SAR services.

The COARNG and the CHRT work with elite civilian rescue organizations, both domestically and internationally, and incorporate the latest SAR equipment and techniques, to include dynamic litter operations, to safely complete search and hoist operations in the high-altitude and high-angle terrain found in Colorado.

For more than 160 years, the men and women of the Colorado National Guard have served our nation in wartime and as the first military responders in support of civil authorities during state emergencies. The CONG’s 5,500 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are Always Ready, Always There

A Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the Army Aviation Support Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado, approaches a member of the Alpine Rescue Team and an injured climber in Rocky Mountain National Park Aug. 30, 2019. The Colorado Hoist Rescue Team provides hoist extraction capability throughout Colorado by incorporating civilian alpine rescue personnel and military helicopter capabilities.
A Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the Army Aviation Support Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado, approaches a member of the Alpine Rescue Team and an injured climber in Rocky Mountain National Park Aug. 30, 2019. The Colorado Hoist Rescue Team provides hoist extraction capability throughout Colorado by incorporating civilian alpine rescue personnel and military helicopter capabilities. Photo used with permission by the Rocky Mountain National Park / Alpine Rescue Team.
Tennessee Air National Guard Leads the Way With New Training Technology

MOTAR (Member, Operations, Training, Analysis, Reporting)

The world is changing. New technologies arise, be it XR (eXtended Reality), streaming video, Artificial Intelligence, or cloud analytics; all of these technologies are changing the way we work and train. The Air Force did not have the capability to implement these technologies on a large scale. WE needed a new way to distribute, track, and analyze our training and operational data. MOTAR grew from that need.

MOTAR is a platform designed to combine learning management, operational software, and XR experiences for use in the Air Force enterprise.

MOTAR is a secure data infrastructure for frictionless user experience across applications, XR tools, and legacy training systems. The system takes a student-centered learning approach, reducing instructor burden while improving analytics.

MOTAR screenshot

 

As we move into new training environments and modernize the way we deal with legacy training systems, MOTAR will allow the USAF to seamlessly deliver training and operational content on the same platform and standardize the user experience for the airmen.

MOTAR was chosen as the ANG Spark Tank winner for 2018 and was chosen by Secretary Wilson as her choice on the main stage at AFA. Through the AFWERX mixed reality challenge, and the SBIR process, the platform was built out and put to the test with Maintenance Next (MXN) at Shepherd AFB. MOTAR was also chosen as the winner for the AFWERX Recruiting Re-imagined winner and the Combat-Ready Aviators challenge.

MOTAR has also been chosen by AFLCMC (Air Force Life Cycle Management Center) to be the backbone of the new Lightweight Sims Ecosystem (LSE) to deliver simulation content to the new generation of VR (Virtual Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) simulator systems throughout the USAF. AFLCMC will be rolling out that capability over the next year, improving the connectedness, and efficacy of lightweight simulators in the ecosystem.

MOTAR
Barnestormers presented with Massachusetts 2020 Innovator of the Year Award, Air Force Achievement Medal

MSgt Oleksak and MSgt Burbee finished in the final four of the National Guard Innovation Competition 2020, with their technique to replace F15 maintenance panels quicker and cheaper. The CNGB elected to fund their idea, and now the appropriate equipment is on order for every F15 wing in the National Guard.

Col. Tom Bladen, 104th Fighter Wing commander, and Brig. Gen. John Driscoll, commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, stand alongside Master Sgt. Bob Oleksak, 104th Maintenance Group fabrication element supervisor, and Leo Burbee, 104MXG structural maintenance supervisor, and their families following a small ceremony where they were presented with the 2020 Massachusetts Air National Guard Co-Innovator of the Year Awards and Air Force Achievement Medals Nov. 14, 2020, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts.
Col. Tom Bladen, 104th Fighter Wing commander, and Brig. Gen. John Driscoll, commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, stand alongside Master Sgt. Bob Oleksak, 104th Maintenance Group fabrication element supervisor, and Leo Burbee, 104MXG structural maintenance supervisor, and their families following a small ceremony where they were presented with the 2020 Massachusetts Air National Guard Co-Innovator of the Year Awards and Air Force Achievement Medals Nov. 14, 2020, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Amelia Leonard, 104th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs)
The AFVentures SBIR Open Topic

Does your command have a problem that could be solved with an innovative idea? Is this problem an Air Force problem, or does it have a potential Air Force tie? If so, your unit may be able to partner with a startup or a small business on a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant, to enable the commercial partner to experiment or develop a solution to your command’s problem.

AFWERX is a great Air Force organization, dedicated to helping to rapidly solve Air Force problems. One of their major efforts is the Air Force Ventures Program. This program links commercial solutions to military problems. A unique way they go about business is the AF Ventures Open Topic, which is held three times a year. With the Open Topic, AF Ventures leverages a portion of the SBIR budget to enable the Air Force to develop and adopt commercially viable innovations while providing a competitive edge to the U.S. entrepreneur and technology ecosystem. You bring the problem; AFVentures helps to find a solution.

A surprising number of problems can be applied across the joint force. So, even if you are an ARNG Soldier, if your problem can be applied to Air National Guard units as well, you might be able to move forward with AFWERX. We encourage you to contact one of you Air National Guard units in state to gain their partnership. For more on this organization, please go here:

https://www.afwerx.af.mil/sbir-for-airmen.html

U.S. Army Capt. Scott Nguyen, Tripler Army Medical Center General Surgery resident physician, assists U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jacklyn Smith, TAMC medical warehouse non-commissioned officer in charge, with adjusting her face shield at TAMC, Hawaii, April 3, 2020. Due to a shortage of disposable masks, the 15th Wing is using 3D printers to make face shields to donate across the island to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter)
U.S. Army Capt. Scott Nguyen, Tripler Army Medical Center General Surgery resident physician, assists U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jacklyn Smith, TAMC medical warehouse non-commissioned officer in charge, with adjusting her face shield at TAMC, Hawaii, April 3, 2020. Due to a shortage of disposable masks, the 15th Wing is using 3D printers to make face shields to donate across the island to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter)
National Guard Bureau Points of Contact and Links

Mr. Clay McGuyer
james.c.mcguyer.civ@mail.mil

Mr. Chuck Crosby
charles.t.crosby.ctr@mail.mil

National Guard Innovation Portal
https://innovatedefense.net/ngb

ANG ARCWERX
https://www.ang.af.mil/Innovation/

ARNG Innovation
https://innovatedefense.net/arng

AFWERX
https://www.afwerx.af.mil/

Defense Innovation Unit
https://www.diu.mil/

National Security Innovation Network
https://www.nsin.us

Chief of the National Guard Bureau’s Vision for Innovation

Innovation is inherently in our DNA as Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen. Guard members develop imaginative solutions to perplexing challenges daily and their creative ways are needed more than ever before.

Our unique culture embraces partnerships with public and private organizations. It is crucial that we focus with great deliberation on confronting the myriad threats and challenges we find across the defense enterprise.

When we think or read about innovation, topics such as fielding major platforms or advances in weapons systems often come to mind. Although we have Soldiers and Airmen contributing in the technology space, innovation is not limited to technological advances. There are certainly Soldiers or Airmen thinking about how we can better maximize limited time, implement more efficient business processes, improve Army or Air Force policies, or update obsolete doctrine.

Great ideas reside in the field, where our service members may be unknowingly solving macro-level problems. We must leverage the unique depth and breadth of our civilian skill sets along with our military training and experience. Think big and contribute in ways not previously seen. We will find a way for you to channel your innovative thoughts to the proper places.

Our unique business model is postured well to lead innovation. We must fight to adapt and change to make ourselves better.

CNGB Vision for the Future

General Joseph L. Lengyel
General Joseph L. Lengyel
California National Guard – Innovation In Deed
The California National Guard continues to use creative problem solving to accomplish their missions, and protect the lives and property of California residents. In the recent USAF SPARK Tank competition, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Steht and Tech. Sgt. Cory Snyder, of the 144th Maintenance Group, CAANG, presented an innovative way to deploy fighter aircraft to austere location rapidly. Using specially support trailers specially designed to be loaded in C-17’s, they NCOs have potentially reduced combat aircraft deployment time from days to hours. In another example of innovative thinking, the California National Guard is saving lives by using existing reconnaissance resources monitor wildfires, and passing the real time information to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The resulting incident awareness enable CalFire to make quicker decision on shifting firefighting resources or evacuating threatened areas. California sets a great example of creative thinking and innovation.
Louisiana National Guard NCO Recognized for Process Improvement Excellence

Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy presented the Louisiana National Guard civil-military planning senior enlisted advisor, Sgt. Maj. David M. Mula with The Process Improvement Program Team Excellence Award, Enterprise Level award for reduction in the time requirements of combined meeting day processes during the eleventh annual Army Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program ceremony at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C., May 30, 2019.

“We won this award by identifying areas in the organization that could be made more efficient and redirecting those resources towards processes that generate readiness,” said SGM Mula. “Our original goal was to reduce man-hours and travel expenditures thirty percent. We actually achieved a reduction of man-hours by forty-one percent and travel costs by seventy-one percent. This equated to annual labor savings of $366,000 and travel of $45,000,” which over a six-year period is $2,200,000 and $280,000 respectively.”

“We are extremely proud of our project team that received this outstanding recognition from the Under Secretary of the Army,” said BG Lee Hopkins, the LANG director of the joint staff. “Their process improvement project, which we implemented in our state, allowed us to save money, improve efficiency, and build more readiness.”

“We’ve had a lot of constrained financial environments over the last few years,” said SGM Mula. “So doing as much as we can with the limited resources we have is important. Every dollar we spend is a taxpayer dollar, and it’s our job to safeguard those and to use taxpayer money to the greatest benefit possible.”

Lean Six Sigma Excellence Award Program (LEAP) ceremony was held at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., May 30, 2019
The Army National Guard - A History of Innovation

The Army National Guard has a long history of innovation that started in 1636 and has never stopped. From the 1st Aero Company, established by the New York National Guard in 1908, to the war changing Culin Rhino, invented by SGT Curtis Culin of the New Jersey National Guard during combat operations in 1944, the Army National Guard succeeds because of our creative, talented, citizen soldiers. Today the ARNG Business Transformation Office works closely with the Army Ideas for Innovation (AI2) program to support innovation efforts from across the force. Any soldier can submit their innovative ideas to the US Army AI2 site.

New York's 1st Aero Company in 1916
1st Aero Company, New York National Guard, 1916
Culin Rhino
Culin Rhino, invented by SGT Curtis Culin of the New Jersey National Guard
The Air National Guard Leverages Grass Roots Innovation
The Air National Guard innovation efforts are achieving unprecedented levels of success. The Squadron Innovation Funds program puts innovation resources into each and every air wing in the Air National Guard. Talented airmen across the country have the resources to experiment with new and innovative ideas, reporting their local success back up through their chain of command. Some of those ideas can then be resourced and fielded across the entire force. This is truly an example of the “Strategic Corporal,” as a talented airman anywhere in the country can have an impact on the entire ANG.
SGT Mike’s Innovation Corner
Soldiers and Airmen are natural innovators. They have to be – There is nowhere to hide when you are at the tip of the spear. You innovate, or fail. In the movie Heartbreak Ridge, Gunny Highway instructs his platoon to “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.” The men and women in our formations do that every single day, and I am proud to serve among the national best – the National Guard. General Lengyel also knows that innovation is going on across our force, and he wants to help. Send your ideas into National Guard Bureau using this email:

ng.ncr.ngb-arng.mbx.guard-innovate@mail.mil

General Lengyel wants to get your good ideas to the right staff agency to explore it, develop it, and maybe field it. It doesn’t cost you a dime, and your good ideas could save your buddies life. Thanks for all you do – Always Ready, Always There.