HistoryThe Warfighter's Edge (WEdge) Team
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 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
more information, contact Dr. Lauren Scharff, Director at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 333-3277.
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