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Call out for acquisition banshees

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Program executive offices at Hanscom are pushing intensive, in-person training for acquisition professionals with entrepreneurs at off-base locations.

The Banshee education partnership is open for nominations from divisions within the three Hanscom Program Executive Offices. It is a two-week course designed to build fully-capable acquisition professionals by catering to all career fields and providing educational opportunities for them in program management, contracting, financial management, testing, engineering and other relevant subjects.

“This training opportunity is about encouraging a growth mindset in acquisition, by connecting Air Force personnel to incubators and startups for joint learning,” said Adam Freudberg, a contractor who advises Hanscom PEOs on innovation and collaboration. “We hope we can increase productivity and efficiency, and bring in new ideas by offering the Air Force new ways of thinking about industry engagements and flexible acquisitions.”

The partnership is a direct result of Hanscom building relationships with local entrepreneurial education and networking organizations like MassChallenge and the National Security Innovation Network, formerly called MD5. Acquisition professionals from PEOs Digital and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, as well as Nuclear Command, Control and Communications are eligible for the training session.

“Educational opportunities like these are how our newer and mid-level acquisition professionals distinguish themselves,” said Steven Wert, program executive officer Digital. “We’re all-in on this, and we want our workforce to see this as the first of a series of new and empowering training opportunities. This is where you get the tools to do new and exciting things within your programs.”

One or two nominations from each division within the PEOs are encouraged and the deadline to submit is July 3. Civilians and officers of any rank or grade in acquisition career fields are eligible, with preference for action officer-level individuals. Geographically separated units within PEO Digital, C3I&N and NC3 are also eligible to submit nominees to their PEO’s executive offices. Interested individuals should work with their supervisors and senior materiel leaders to submit nominations.

Attendees will hear about entrepreneurship from academics at Babson College, located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. They will also attend courses on the Small Business Innovation Research program, artificial intelligence, machine learning and secure cloud systems, to help them acquire better technology for the Air Force from more diverse businesses.

The course will end with sessions at PEO Digital’s two upcoming Pitch Days, where attendees will watch how judges select the best from large pools of small businesses and startups that want to solve specific problems and requirement sets within Air Force programs of record. The Pitch Days will expose trainees to creative solutions in unmanned aerial systems, and software design and testing infrastructure.

“Banshee is a program where we can show innovation doesn’t just happen in the innovation units,” said Capt. Victoria Wyler, PEO Digital’s executive officer, who helped organize Banshee with Freudberg. “At the end, we hope these nominees can go back to their programs reinvigorated and excited to bring the best ideas from industry into the Air Force.”

Banshee is a no-cost partnership with NSIN and MassChallenge, which provide the space, instructors and training materials. Freudberg and Wyler are working to make this the first of many future training opportunities available to the Hanscom acquisition workforce.