Research Centers

 WEdge

Geospatial Technical Center

Reserve Research

 Scholarship of Teaching  and Learning

Center for Cadet IT Research-C4CTR

Line


Home
Research Centers
Proposal Submission
Air Force Reserve
Projects
Publications
Technical Reports
IITA Lab

  WEdge logo

WEdge

History

The WEdge Team was founded by Lt Col Andy "Skipper" Berry in 2005 along with Lt Col Mike "Buckwheat" Lattanzi. Skipper was an F-16 pilot and the System Support Representative in the Oklahoma Air National Guard when he started working with a legacy product called Briefing Room Interactive (BRI). Skipper leveraged his Computer Science degree and warfighter passion to successfully connect Microsoft PowerPoint to an outside data source.

A successful demonstration of this capability at Joint Forces Experiment (JEFX) 2005 led to an assignment at the United States Air Force Academy's Institute for Information Technology Applications (IITA), directed by General James P. McCarthy, USAF, Retired. At the Institute, Skipper took the BRI concept and began to add functionality and real-time access to data in the fully released WEBS application that is available today.


The Warfighter's Edge (WEdge) Team

The WEdge Team is dedicated to developing and supporting software applications that improve mission effectiveness and daily operational needs of the warfighter. We seek intelligent, simple solutions that are easily adapted so that nearly zero training is required for application.

WEdge is led by warfighters who actually use our software. Team leadership, adaptation of new ideas and requirements, user support, usability testing and development approval are all performed by current USAF warfighters. Notably, the WEdge Operations Team creates and or maintains direct relationships with users throughout the USAF mission to ensure that all players have input to how the software is developed. We aggressively seek comprehensive feedback, and have found the best influences on our software have come from the toughest critic, USAF aircrews.

Our software development process has been built to meet the needs of external organizations seeking a USAF software development team. We own the capabilities of the entire software development process from cradle-to-grave and the staff and resources necessary to run a nearly autonomous operation within the DoD software acquisitions process. Markedly, the WEdge Team has begun the process of certifying 50% of our developers as Certified Ethical Hackers. We work hard to build secure software, not software that is dependent upon the security of the system that hosts our software.

The WEdge Team now has three wholly-owned applications under development:


WEdge Briefing Software (WEBS) WEdge Viewer, and WEdge Shuttle
WEdge Briefing Software (WEBS)


The WEdge Briefing Software (WEBS) is a new system that is more effective and can replace the Briefing Room Interactive (BRI) systems.  It is designed to provide a real-time flow of mission, training and supplemental information needed by the operator with minimal effort.

Created by warfighters who saw deficiencies in existing briefing systems, the WEdge Briefing Software dynamically updates briefings with live data and can be used to share briefings and information between units. It provides warfighters detailed, accurate mission information, tailored to their specific requirements. With this system, users are given a dynamic, net-centric environment that helps them to plan their next briefing.

Accurate, detailed mission briefings are critical to flying operations. The most common computer-based tool for creating these slides is Microsoft PowerPoint®. The WEdge Briefing Software takes a warfighter's familiarity with PowerPoint and extends its capabilities.

The WEdge Briefing Software accesses net-centric data sources and transforms the data with the use of simple "data tags." The process creates a customizable, user-friendly format that dramatically reduces the time spent manually retrieving, verifying and organizing mission information. The end result is a briefing that is more efficient, valid and ultimately more effective.

image of a clock

Time Savings

One of the best features of the WEdge Briefing Software, is the way it centralizes briefing information. Currently, local personnel gather data from a multitude of sources and manually insert the information into a briefing. With the WEdge Briefing Software, users can connect directly to a database of information. The information can then be placed directly into a presentation, saving hours of preparation time for every briefing, ensuring accuracy.

image of a valve

Machine to Machine

When data is manually extracted, the danger of introducing transcription errors or presenting outdated material in a changing mission environment becomes a threat to data integrity. With The WEdge Briefing Software, data is loaded directly from its source, machine-to-machine, preventing inaccurate presentations. With the WEdge Briefing Software, users gain unprecedented data integrity and validation with mission products.

http://www.wedge.hpc.mil/img/icon_autoupdates.jpg

Automatic Updates

When connected to a WEdge network, warfighters receive automatic updates to all subscribed briefings. But briefings do not depend on the network to function. If connectivity is temporarily lost, briefings can still be presented with the last known live data. Once the network is restored, the briefings are updated automatically.

recycle logo

Communications

Access to the latest and most accurate information is critical for Air Force personnel. The WEdge Briefing System automatically synchronizes briefing materials to every presentation computer. Providing briefing materials developed at one location can be used by pilots at another location through the timely sharing of data. WEdge allows the materials to be published to a central database or repository, where any WEdge user can subscribe to documents and receive updates. WEdge is available on the NIPRnet, SIPRnet and is authorized for use on JWICS. Briefings on the NIPRnet are published manually twice daily to the SIPRnet.

icon of people talking

Security

Briefings are shared between the user's base and the central repository using secure, encrypted communication channels. WEdge fully controls a unit's briefing system through managed user accounts. The ability gives WEdge managers the ability to change briefings, while users can only run the briefings. WEdge also only allows those with a registered CAC or username and password to login and access the briefing material.

WEdge Viewer Logo  WEdge Viewer
The concept for the WEdge Viewer grew out of the Google Earth Pilot application which was developed by Captain Mark Jacobson, a C-17 pilot from McChord Air Force Base. The project was embraced by WEdge in July of 2008, formalized, and prepared for operational deployment.

WEdge Viewer is a stand-alone customized Google Earth application that renders Warfighter-specific mission planning elements (PFPS, DAFIF, Intelligence, Weather, Blue Force Tracker, Bird Dog, AHAS/BAM, etc.) in Google Earth’s 3D environment to capture as much of the battle space picture as possible.


Versatility and Increased Situational Awareness for the Warfighter

Able to work on NIPR and SIPR, the WEdge Viewer can select any Google Earth globe for imagery, vector data and elevation data. Through the use of portable globes, the Viewer allows users to interact with Google Earth in a completely disconnected environment.

Once a mission or sortie is planned using PFPS, users can analyze and rehearse their mission in 3D using the WEdge Viewer. With the WEdge Viewer installed, Warfighters are able to attain unparalleled situational awareness. Sticking with the philosophy of creating easy to use, robust and simple to sustain products, the WEdge Viewer will seek to maximize Warfighter effectiveness while minimizing requirements for training and hardware/software procurement. The BETA version of Viewer was released in May of 2010 and will also be available with the PFPS 4.2.1 installation DVD.


WEdge Shuttle

The right information at the right time.


The WEdge Shuttle is solving the problem of disconnected Warfighters planning and executing separate portions of a mission package. Current software products do not yet allow for network utilization to build geographically separated partnerships for planning or execution of complex missions. In fact, operators are often disconnected even within the same squadron or mission planning cell.

The power of the Shuttle is in utilizing the powerful WEdge Architecture to move data automatically within these partnerships so that data created by one group can be displayed and updated by another. Several-to-many users can all view synchronized mission data from within a simple, floating user interface window, accessed from the FalconView toolbar. The Shuttle is not limited to just PFPS overlay files; all supporting documents can be moved to facilitate effective communication and aid in the mission’s success.

Maintaining the philosophy of creating easy to use, robust, and simple products, The WEdge Shuttle seeks to maximize effectiveness for the Warfighter while minimizing requirements for training and hardware/software purchase. The Shuttle has already been delivered for testing to be included with PFPS 4.2.1, and will be available as part of the PFPS 4.2.1 installer DVD.Future releases of The WEdge Shuttle will extend the capability to JMPS and any other mission planning systems in use by the warfighter

Both the WEdge Viewer and the WEdge Shuttle are developed and supported by The WEdge Team at the United States Air Force Academy's Institute for Information Technology Applications (USAFA/IITA) under the direction of General James P. McCarthy, USAF, Retired. The WEdge Team is led by Lt Col Andy Berry, a Warfighter and visionary of a suite of products designed for aircrew by aircrew.


Geospatial Technical Center
The Geospatial Technical Center (GTC) is a focal point for the integration of geospatial technologies to meet the evolving needs of the Department of Defense.  The GTC finds low cost solutions through advancing existing technologies, research and development, testing and evaluation, and education and training.

The mission of the GTC is to advance, test, evaluate, research, and integrate geospatial technology solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD).  The Center collaborates with the Air Force Installation Mapping and Visualization Council, Air Force Major Commands, the Air Force Electronic Systems Center, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the National Guard Bureau, and National Laboratories to locate or develop geospatial technologies.  The GTC is in a unique position to conduct technology advancement, research on new and existing applications, and development and geospatial.

The GTC is in a unique position to conduct technology advancement, research on new and existing applications, and development geospatial Technologies.  The GTC can draw from the operational and intellectual expertise of the USAF Academy faculty.

The Center is also located near AFSPC and Northcom and works with several offices at the command.  The proximity to these commands strategically locates the GTC among the best ideas that the military industrial complex has for the application of geospatial technologies to improve force protection and homeland security.  There is great synergy in Colorado Springs for geospatial advancement of existing and new technologies.


Air Force Reserve shield Reserve Research
The Institute for Information Technology Applications (IITA), offers grants to researchers from all disciplines to conduct research in leading edge information technologies.  The IITA is interested in matching Air Force Reserve expertise with project requirements to complement IITA's active duty reserve initiatives.  Reserve Research scopes research projects to benefit the warfighter as well as to enhance education pedagogies.

Whether developing a unique concept from scratch or problem-solving a known warfighter requirement, Reserve Research works to leverage the synergies between USAFA Faculty, Cadets, and AF Reserve/Air National Guard members when problem-solving. Tapping our Air Reserve Component personnel for their worldwide networking capability with currently deployed forces has proven to be invaluable. Reserve Research has developed contacts/relationships with AMC, AFSOC, SOCOM, ACC CSAR, and AFRL.

Currently, Reserve Research is involved in two high visibility projects.  One is a combat airdrop project (AELVIS- Airdrop Enhanced Logistics Visibility Information System) that integrates satellite communications, Friendly Force Trackers, barcode scanning technology and software programming to provide position and content information of  items airdropped to geographically dispersed units anywhere in the world.  Ultimately all military stakeholders with an internet connection will be able to locate quickly and accurately an individual cargo bundle, regardless of day/night operations or weather conditions.

Reserve Research also initiated a “SmartRegs” project that utilizes a dual screen device designed to replace large technical books/manuals. It is an interactive device and the intent is to develop and research its capability to decrease problem-solving time, increase the chances of finding the best solution on the first try, and reduce the time required to manage changes to the book/manual.  Currently, this dual screen device is part of an academic research project at USAFA.
SoTL logo Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) represents a growing national and international professional movement that recognizes, publicizes, funds, and advocates the scholarly approach to understanding factors that impact student learning.  These factors include specific teaching techniques, incorporation of technology, organization of materials, use of group work and the like.

Since the initiation of the program in June 2009, SoTL research projects have been implemented involving facultyacross all four academic divisions at the Air Force Academy.  These projects support the learning-centered focus of the Academy and represent new ways to incorporate best practices in teaching.  Findings from these projects are shared across the Academy as well as presented externally at national and international conferences.  Generous gift fund contributions from Mr. John Martinson have made this program possible.

The SoTL Program also coordinates speaker events, workshops, and SoTL Circles.  SoTL Circles are bi-weekly, hour-long meetings of groups of faculty who wish to exchange ideas related to general topics in teaching and learning and topics specifically related to the scholarship of teaching and learning.  Discussion is often centered around research articles and current USAFA SoTL projects.

For more information, contact Dr. Lauren Scharff, Director at lauren.scharff@usafa.edu  or (719) 333-3277.


WISE Logo Center for Cadet IT Research-C4CTR
Center for Cadet Technology Research (C4CTR) mentors six cadet Wing IT Services Engineers and the cadet Wing IT Officer.  C4CTR provides an avenue for cadets to gain in-depth IT experience and advanced IT problem-solving skills for the cadet wing and USAFA mission elements.  With the help of the C4CTR the cadets can tackle real-world challenges with direct effects that permeate the USAFA mission.

Back to Top

 

 

U.S. Air Force Academy, USAFA, CO 80840, (719) 333-1110 DSN: 333-1110, Updated: 27 Nov 14
Privacy & Security Notice   |   External Link Disclaimer   |   Contact Us / Submit Feedback / Webmaster | Accessibility/Section 508