HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
Every year the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron Analyst Team prepares an annual brief that is submitted to the highest levels and presented at the Weapons and Tactics Conference. Their brief consists of a culmination of data that informs how weapon systems are performing, that in turn defines the relevant battlespace of how weapons will be employed in combat.
“The data we capture is about weapon employments and scenarios from Combat Air Forces,” said Mitch Gill, lead analyst, 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron. “We determine how well jets, personnel, and weapons perform with regards to reliability, readiness, effectiveness, and suitability.”
One of the products the analyst team focuses on is pushing data to the 3-1 Shot Kill which operators use for current tactics. The team provides updates on how accurate the weapons are during training missions, which then gives insight to the pilots on how they can achieve the desired weapons effects.
This type of insight is particularly helpful during exercises such as WSEP, where units from around the world with a variety of aircraft are tested on their ability to accurately drop munitions in realistic combat scenarios.
“Each unit that comes to WSEP receives an evaluation on their performance. With the data collected we let them know how well they did at completing the entire weapon system chain,” said Gill. “This is both an objective and subjective evaluation that the entire unit performs to give a unit commander an outside perspective at how well their unit performs compared to the CAF.”
A future goal the team is aiming for is to create a dashboard for pilots, program offices, and other units where they’ll have access to the data that WSEP collects. With this data accessible, teams will be able to throw out or alter scenarios and determine how accurate a weapon could be; the data would drive better decision making prior to the mission according to Gill.
“The Analyst team is integral to the operation of the 86 FWS in that they are responsible for data-driven, statistically relevant design of experiments that ensure a comprehensive assessment of the total fielded integrated weapon system from manufacturer delivery to desired target effects,” said Lt Col Russell Reynolds, director of operations, 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron. “They ensure the measures of performance and measures of effectiveness provide decision quality data to operational and strategic level leadership.”
A new and innovative concept that the analysis team is adopting is known as Scrum and Sprints created by Agile Alliance. Every two weeks, the team plans out what they are going to accomplish and by the end of their deadline the analyst team demos what they’ve worked on to anyone in the 86th FWS that has interest in the products the team has built. This allows the team to quickly pivot to meet what customers and consumers of their products want as opposed to building a tool that no one will use. This keeps the team working on the highest priority tasks and getting proper feedback in a timely fashion, according to Gill.
“Overall, we’ve done some good things but we all agree we have a long way left to go and a lot more work to do before anyone feels satisfied with an end product,” said Gill. “It’s nice to be recognized but truthfully what we’re working on has been influenced and guided by the squadron as a whole to get us moving in the direction that we want to go.”