Lantern ‘lights the way’ for innovation and collaboration at Hanscom

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

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom and Massachusetts Army National Guard leaders gathered at The Lantern: Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center here Sept. 6 to celebrate a mutually beneficial memorandum of understanding.

The MOU establishes a formal support relationship between the Lantern, Hanscom’s hub for partnerships, demonstrations, and testing for more than two decades, and the MANG’s 126th Cyber Protection Battalion. Through this official partnership, the Lantern Information Systems Security manager receives on-site incident handling support from the 126 CPB. In return, the 126 CPB has access to training and classified workspace to support their operations and drill events. The MOU also enables MANG representatives to contribute to the Lantern Advisory Board.

“This partnership is all about encouraging an exchange of ideas and taking down silos,” said Lt. Col. Dean Cibotti, the outgoing Lantern executive director and MOU lead. “We’ve been working informally with the MANG since 2015 and this MOU codifies and strengthens our relationship and paves the way for future collaboration.”

The MOU was signed by Lantern and 126 CPB leadership this summer and it has already had tangible benefits for both partners.

“In June, the 126th CPB provided technical expertise on two-factor authentication that the Lantern required during our authorization to operate renewal,” Cibotti said. “And in August, the 126 CPB held their drill weekend at the Lantern.” 

The Lantern team hopes to connect with more innovative companies and organizations at the ‘Light the Lantern’ industry demo day event, which is scheduled to take place in the Lantern facilities at Hanscom on Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The Lantern will be showcasing 12 technology providers,” said Christopher Carrero, the Lantern’s technical director. “This year’s themes are virtual and augmented reality, zero trust and hybrid edge. We invite Hanscom personnel to join us for this interactive, on-base event.”

The ‘Light the Lantern’ event will be held at the Lantern’s tactical shelter area.

The Lantern team has also made a concerted effort to improve the onboarding process for their new mission partners.

“A big change is our ability to give new partners immediate access to Lantern resources,” said Lt. Col. Bai Lan Zhu, Lantern executive director. “Our technical and programmatic staff provide a broad array of resources, including IT network connectivity and an ATO with inheritable controls. The idea is to remove the typical barriers to entry, so ideas can quickly become warfighting capabilities.”

The Lantern has also established several new Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.

“Our recent CRADAs are diverse, but they have a common theme of enabling the Air Force to rapidly try out cutting-edge technology,” Zhu said. “By its very nature, new technology is not completely understood. The CRADA is a significant mechanism to collaborate with industry on research and technology transfer.”

The Lantern is also supporting exercises, such as Emerald Flag, which was held earlier this year, by offering remote function testing and cyber security testing capabilities.

“Thanks to the Lantern’s collaboration, participants were able to watch real-time aircraft tracks, apply messaging capabilities, and collect data from Emerald Flag’s kill-web integration objectives,” said Capt. Samuel Howard, Test Manager lead for the 96th Cyber Test Group, Detachment 1. “Together, we’ll continue to service our Hanscom customer needs and build upon new digital transformation toolsets.”

Zhu said the Lantern team’s goal is to make their facility the Air Force testbed, working on the “latest and greatest” technology with mission partners.

“We want to enable tech transfer,” she said. “We want to grow ideas and not just have a solely landlord and tenant relationship with our partners.”

To learn more about the Lantern and partnership opportunities, contact Eric Brimhall, Lantern program manager, at