10-year partnership delivers valuable training and innovation opportunities

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

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Team Hanscom and University of Massachusetts Lowell officials recently gathered at the UML campus in Lowell, Mass., to celebrate a decade-long partnership.

A formal Education Partnership Agreement between the installation and the university was first established in winter 2013-2014, resulting in numerous mutually beneficial collaboration opportunities.

“The past 10 years have given us a strong foundation to go forward, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the next 10 years,” said Col. Taona Enriquez, Hanscom Air Force Base installation commander. “There are so many opportunities for us to collaborate and leverage the expertise and innovation both of our organizations bring to the table.”

Over the past decade, a variety of training, recruiting, and innovation-focused initiatives were enabled through the EPA and other mechanisms, including UML courses on the topics of network security, project management, and digital engineering developed specifically for Hanscom AFB personnel; summer internships at Hanscom AFB for UML students; and a Cyber STEM Defense and Hackathon challenge with Hanscom AFB engineers. University leaders also shared their expertise to assist the Air Force with topics such as virtual reality for first responders and energy resiliency.

UML’s Chancellor, Dr. Julie Chen, said these achievements are just the starting point for what she hopes is a “much bigger partnership in the future.”

“We want to help build a community that is connected and can work together,” she said. “We want as a university to make sure that the partnership between Hanscom and UML strengthens and grows over time.” 

Hanscom AFB’s senior advisor for Innovation and Collaboration, Adam Freudberg, has been involved with the partnership since its inception and said the formalized relationship between the base and UML has helped clear hurdles and saved both organizations valuable time.

“[This] is a model of how a leading university and an Air Force installation can succeed together on mutually beneficial partnerships,” he said. “Our joint work with UML is enabled by Air Force Technology Transfer and Transition mechanisms and other authorities. The many initiatives we reviewed have led to tangible successes with associated metrics to back up the value, impacts, efficiencies, and alignment with Air Force and UML goals.”

Most recently, the Lantern: Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center and the university’s Applied Research Corporation enacted a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, focused on performing dependency mapping and information sharing in support of improved cyber defense and public safety.

“This CRADA not only enhances the Lantern’s ability to work with UML on cyber-related initiatives, it also gives other DOD organizations, including the Digital Directorate; the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapon Systems; the Command, Control, Communication and Battle Management office; and the Massachusetts National Guard an additional mechanism through which to partner with UML,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks.

While both Hanscom AFB and UML leaders are celebrating the numerous successes born from this partnership, they’re focused on the future and identifying new opportunities for collaboration.

“We have a strategic planning session next month and my team and I will be discussing future partnership opportunities with UML,” Genatempo said. “I’d also like to help connect what we’ve created here in Massachusetts to the larger Air Force’s needs beyond our geographic location here in New England.”

During the gathering at UML, Hanscom AFB leaders identified a few ideas they hope to explore with the university in 2024, including a contracting-focused certificate program, enhanced Hanscom AFB internship opportunities for UML students, and a pathway for scaling the digital engineering course to make it available to Airmen Air Force-wide.

“We want to create programs and certificates that meet a need,” Chen said. “That is where this partnership really works. There are big challenges out there and by working together that’s how we move things forward.”