MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
As part of an Air Force initiative to fund innovation, the 366th Fighter Wing has approved more than $90,000 in purchases to improve overall squadron-level effectiveness.
“I believe these funds will directly support the CSAF’s intent of ensuring our squadrons have the resources they need to take risks in pursuit of new ideas and improvements,” said Col. Joe Kunkel, 366th FW commander. “We depend on our squadron Airmen to know what tools and resources they need to be more effective. The projects they have identified for funding will help drive innovation and enhance our lethality.”
In February of this year, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein announced squadrons across the Air Force would receive a new funding authority with the specific goal of accelerating the implementation of the National Defense Strategy. The innovation fund allocated $64 million to total force squadrons to reduce resource barriers that may be preventing ingenuity.
One of the approved squadron funding requests here included the acquisition of epoxy resin for the Non-destructive Inspection office of the 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. As part of their mission, they collect samples of jet engine oil to inspect. When members of their unit noticed the surfaces they analyze the oil on was too porous, they submitted a request to have the surface hardened which will make their equipment last longer.
“The epoxy resin will make our work center more effective because it will extend the life of the table we test the oil on because of its durability,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Corum, 366th EMS NDI Craftsman.
The funds are intended to be “seed money” for squadron-level innovation, and will deliver bottom-up solutions.
“As I travel around our bases and visit flight lines and shops, I find Airmen building better tools and trying out new ideas,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “This fund will enable more innovation from the squadron up, not the top down.”
Kunkel said he knows these funds won’t solve all squadron problems, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“Our ability to innovate starts at the squadron level, and in order to execute their innovative ideas and solutions, we need to support them with fast and efficient access to resources,” Kunkel said. “When we are able to make their day-to-day mission easier with adequate resources, it makes the 366th Fighter Wing more effective.”