Banshee partners celebrate sixth cohort and alumni successes

  • Published
  • By Jessica Casserly
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The sixth iteration of the Banshee Innovation Training program culminated in a virtual wrap-up event featuring a cohort challenge statement showcase Aug. 1.

The three-year partnership between Hanscom Air Force Base, MassChallenge and the Air Force Research Laboratory, helps participants integrate innovative ideas and approaches into their daily work. Thirty individuals from across Air Force Life Cycle Management Center organizations, including the Digital Directorate; the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate; the 66th Air Base Group; the Agile Combat Support Directorate; and the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, as well as the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems and the Massachusetts National Guard joined the virtual training sessions July 25 to Aug. 1.

Joe Bradley, director of CROWS and of Engineering and Technical Management at Hanscom, said this initiative helps participants understand, embrace and implement innovative acquisition tools and ideas.

“CROWS greatly values the content of the Banshee program, plus the exposure our team gets to both innovative processes and personnel,” he said. “We appreciate the partnership we have with the other Hanscom program executive offices to improve our workforce capabilities through Banshee.”

MassChallenge’s Chief Executive Officer, Cait Brumme, said she and her team are “extremely proud” to run Banshee in partnership with Hanscom for a third year.

“Through our partnership with the U.S. Air Force, the Banshee program aims to foster a culture of innovation by removing the traditional barriers to collaboration in order to deliver impact at speed,” she said. “Ultimately, [Banshee is] equipping our Airmen with the tools necessary to solve critical frontline challenges.”

During an alumni panel session, Capt. James Hanley and Matthew Reyburn, both members of the fall 2020 cohort, shared how the training enhanced their careers and prepared them for new opportunities.

“I got my current position on the C3I&N innovation team as a direct result of this program,” Reyburn said. “The innovation project you present to senior leaders at the end of the program provides a great networking opportunity in terms of getting your name out there and presenting yourself as an innovator to leadership.”

Hanley credited Banshee with his acceptance into the Department of the Air Force-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator’s Phantom Fellowship.

“Banshee taught me that ideas are great, but eventually we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and deliver something,” he said. “Innovation is one of the best ways to address communal pain points in a different way and make whatever you’re working on better or faster.”

The cohort broke up into five teams to identify challenges and brainstorm solutions around acquisition innovation, cybersecurity, digital engineering, network communications, and collaboration.

Banshee participant Capt. Brandon Koury said his team’s challenge statement focused on how to “change the culture of the Department of the Air Force to embrace digital engineering practices.”

“This is an important topic, because we believe the appropriate culture needs to exist for the workforce to be successful when attempting to embrace the training, tools and expected outcome of digital engineering,” he said.

Koury said he will continue this conversation with C3I&N’s digital engineering team to see what solutions they have and get feedback on his Banshee team’s ideas.

During the wrap-up event, senior leaders from PEO Digital, C3I&N, CROWS and the 66 ABG challenged the cohort to take action.

“I’m counting on all of you to bring these problems and the solutions that you’re coming up with to me,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, program executive officer for C3I&N. “I need you to challenge me and bring me as up-to-date as all of you are now on what we need to do moving forward.”

Steve Wert, PEO for Digital, urged the cohort to add two or three action items from the course to their “to do list” and actually implement them into their work at Hanscom.

“I hope you found this experience educational and, more importantly, invigorating,” he said.

The next Banshee cohort is tentatively scheduled for fall 2022.