Air Force handpicks Reserve Airmen to lead customer-focused innovation

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Meredith Mingledorff
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. Cedric D. George, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, director of logistics, visited the 924th Fighter Group here March 25, to meet with the Reserve Citizen Airmen and further develop the Battle Record Information Core Environment application for maintainers.

The BRICE app is an iOS app provided with a tablet that brings technical data, forms, and other tools to Airmen on the flight line. The new app has proven to reduce wasted man hours walking back and forth to the tool crib, or office for computer access. This improves flight readiness, data entry, and quickens turnaround time for routine maintenance.

George handpicked the 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron to beta-test the app for the entire Air Force, calling the squadron “unapologetically visionary.” The squadron is known throughout the Air Force for finding innovative solutions to their unique challenges.

“Our Airmen are empowered to make decisions at the lowest levels and are encouraged to tell us what they need to get the mission done,” said Col. Brian Cusson, 924th FG commander. “We’ve built this fighter group from scratch and the Air Force picked the perfect squadron to demonstrate how to bring the future faster.”

Reserve Citizen Airmen at the 924th are dedicate to innovation and reforming the organization using new technology to improve maintenance production times by employing and testing the app which may also provide a cost savings due to efficiency.

“Since the beginning, our folks have always leveraged innovation to do more with less while optimizing the advantages of our seamless Total Force maintenance team here at DM,” said Cusson.

The Total Force effort combines the talents of Active Duty, Reserve, civilian employees, and government contractors from Amazon Web Services, Apple, Verizon, Monkton, and others who are providing the architecture and hardware for BRICE. The app is supported by the Defense Information Systems Agency, U.S. Air Force Headquarters and AFRC Logistics offices that manage the program.

Maintainers have been using the application for approximately one year. They were invited to provide direct feedback to George and his development team on their experiences and ideas for improving the app.

Initial testing was limited to 150 users, who were issued iPads with the application loaded, and used it every day during the first test phase. Seventy-eight percent of users, reported the tool reduced their travel time by one to two hours per job and that it is easy to implement.

The discussion focused on providing innovative mobile solutions for a rapidly deployable Air Force, and meeting needs in the most cost-effective ways possible. Early cost savings is an estimated $8,500 per year, per maintainer for the Air Force, according to Christopher W. Butigieg, AFRC logistics program manager.

George and his development team say they need the talents of Davis-Monthan’s Airmen on the ground to make BRICE a viable solution for the entire Air Force. He encouraged Airmen to not only provide their ideas and experiences, but to also learn code and write their own applications in the future.

The development team agreed new applications to meet additional Air Force needs should be fast and simple, doing only one or two tasks extremely well. The goal is to have Airmen ready and equipped with the tools they need completely mobile and secure.

“My job is to leverage data,” said George. “The right data leads to the right decision, and this team at Davis-Monthan is crucial to me and my team in getting this app right.”

Members of the 924th AMXS and the rest of the development team were recognized by George.
“You are incredible. You are the best Airmen this Air Force has ever had, and you are our future. You will optimize our Air Force and I thank you for your insight and your service,” said George.

BRICE will implement the maintainers’ feedback into its next update at the end of this month, and will continue to test and scope the tool more broadly across the Total Force at Davis-Monthan AFB.

The 924th FG is a geographically separated unit of the 944th Fighter Wing located at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona and consists of four units; the 47th Fighter Squadron, the 924th AMXS, the 924th MXS, and the 924th Operational Support Flight. The unit-equipped fighter group is responsible for one half of the Air Force’s A-10 pilot training mission. The Total Force effort includes active and classic associations with the regular Air Force’s 355th Wing including the 355th Fighter Group and the 355th Maintenance Group at Davis-Monthan AFB.