CyberWorx Newsletter Q4 2020



Col William Waynick, CyberWorx Director

One of my Commanding Generals at the Joint Special Operations Command, GEN Scott Miller, instilled a culture in the command to “be whatever the nation needs us to be.” He recognized the need to proactively iterate because we face adaptive enemies, changes in leadership, accordion-like budgets, and other great unknowns. The Air Force needs CyberWorx to iterate for the exact same reasons. We do not want to fall into the Innovator’s Dilemma and rely solely on our past successes.

We were formed a few years ago by visionary USAFA alumni and Air Force senior leaders to focus on providing innovative solutions for cyber. Since then, the demand signal for our unique innovative methodologies to solve problems has increased drastically and broadened. Our portfolio has diversified from just cyber to C2, ISR, logistics, force development, missile warning, and even mental health to name a few.

We are going to continue to iterate so that we can be whatever the Air Force needs us to be (thank you GEN Miller). That includes a rebranding. The CyberWorx name has served us well, but stay tuned for a name change to reflect the awesomeness we provide to the Air and Space Force.


This past year saw tremendous growth at CyberWorx with new team members, an expanded customer base, successful transition of 19 projects, and over double the number of new projects spanning a wide range of topics from mental health to talent management and beyond. 

Six new team member positions increase our ability to meet and exceed the growing needs of our customers and work load! For more details about members of our team, check out our team page.

  • Two more UX designers
  • Resource Advisor
  • Professor and subject matter expert in cyber engineering research and software development
  • A8P Program Analyst
  • FM Budget Analyst
  • A second Collaborative Project Order (CPO)

Word of mouth regarding our talent and expertise has gone viral. We’ve graduated from a few sporadic projects to repeat customers with enterprise-wide projects and COCOM priorities.

  • ACC
  • Air National Guard
  • US Space Force
  • COCOMs
  • System and joint project offices
  • Spark & project groups at individual bases
  • SkiCAMP
  • Blue Horizons
  • And many more!

The scope of our projects has grown well beyond cyber. We are a problem solving organization dedicated to shining a spotlight on the user in every initiative, no matter what the problem is. Some of the areas we’ve expanded into include:

  • Mental health problem solving with USAFA Cadets
  • UI designs for training and command decisions
  • Design sprints for talent management
  • Research into using explainable AI

The number of projects and requests has grown exponentially. In 2019, we averaged less than one event a month with a few non-event projects. We more than doubled that number for 2020. We successfully transitioned 19 projects this year from 2020 and earlier. The team worked tirelessly to identify partners and advocate the transition of solutions to make warfighters more effective and efficient. Check out the 2020 Project Review to go more in-depth on the good work we’ve done this year.

While 2020 has been a difficult year, CyberWorx continued to pivot and find better ways to help our customers. Our capabilities help organizations across the DoD when and how they most need it to address their most difficult problems. We will continue to provide high-quality support in 2021, confident that we will deliver value to the DoD and solve any problem thrown our way. 


As our organization continues to evolve, positioning our branding to distinctly encompass what we do and who we serve is critical to our 2021 marketing strategy. Updated branding assets, including a new name and logo, will clearly represent our services and impact across the DoD enterprise. Strong, intentional branding elements will increase awareness of our multi-discipline services, reach additional warfighters and industry partners, and drive new collaborations and solutions. 

No matter what we are named, our team will continue to focus on the user and the mission. Strategic branding is a vital component in setting ourselves apart as a top industry leader. As we transition into this new year, we are excited to reveal more details of this project!


  • AF Gaming – We hosted AF Gaming and the US Space Force team for the CODE Bowl in our studio for a trans-Atlantic military eSports competition to promote connectedness amongst the force.
  • The Other Airmen – Citizen Developers volunteered for a low code/no code experiment to prove viability and capability for AF-wide application development solutions.
  • F-35 MADL and Link-16 – We are working with SkiCAMP to build a more user-friendly software tool to allow aircrew to accurately plan data link communications.
  • Kinderspot – We’re optimizing the user experience for parents AF-wide to use base CDCs with temporarily empty childcare slots, Airbnb-style.
  • USAFA Honor Code System Review – USAFA is reviewing the honor code to determine if any changes will help lower honor code violations. 
  • LUXE – The Chief UX officer for the AF is improving the user interface of several AF-wide applications and increasing the appreciation and understanding of human centered design. 
  • Weather AI Explainability – We are working with the MIT/Lincoln Labs AF AI Accelerator to build a tool that explains the confidence level for regional weather without radar coverage.
  • Cyber Wingman – Our work with the AI Accelerator has also provided the opportunity to build an AI-driven cyber intelligence capability.
  • 21st Century Drill – The Air National Guard is designing the drill weekend of the future with more effective ways for Citizen Soldiers to communicate, collaborate, and increase readiness.
  • Genisys – AFTC is streamlining their process pipeline to move useful, actionable, and meaningful data from the test range to production faster.
  • USAFA FM – How might we improve the consolidated resourcing sight picture at USAFA?
  • Winter is Coming – Grand Forks AFB and the University of North Dakota want to build a stronger culture of innovation and connectedness with Airmen.


  • COBALT – N-NC is exploring how best to fuse automated cyber intelligence data into the cyberspace operations ecosystem.
  • SATIRE – We’re discovering how we can help develop a tool for the ISR community that explains the IW capabilities of the 16 AF.

Q3 Newsletter | July 1 – September 30

Team Comments:

Lt Col Michael Helgeson, Deputy Director of AF CyberWorx

What does an AF CyberWorx “win” look like? We use our unique blend of user experience and modern problem solving and product development methods to tackle a wide range of operational and organizational challenges. We had three major wins in quarter three, representing that wide range: Early Warning Radar Sustainment, Six Degrees of Kevin Beacon, and OPTIMIS.

Each represents our end-user focused processes as we re-imagine how people, organizations, and technology interact to best accomplish and support the Air Force mission. When we help with solutions, we don’t just stop with an idea or concept as we solve a problem. We support that idea with strategies and coordination to identify and engage partners for development and transition to sustainment. What would an AF CyberWorx-powered win look like for your organization? 

We had three major wins in quarter three representing how we work to support Air Force solutions:

  •  Early Warning Radar Sustainment: As we supported Air Combat Command’s legacy radar sustainment effort, we not only assisted operators, maintainers, and sustainers in bringing together different viewpoints of the challenge, we combined a common future vision with acquisition strategies to engage industry to achieve the optimal solution for the Air Force. 
  • Six Degrees of Kevin Beacon: In our work with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, we helped them develop the concept for process flows and a software tool to streamline identification and response tracking to emergency beacons across the continental United States.  
  • OPTIMIS: The originally airlift-focused flight evaluation app developed into a project originally taken up by Academy cadets took a different turn as we recognized complementary flight scheduling efforts under way by Kessel Run, another partner in the AF innovation ecosystem.  We transitioned our user-tested, minimum viable product into their portfolio to broaden its scope across all mission platforms, allow for full mission support integration, and provide for out-year sustainment. 

What all our solutions have in common is that through our end-user focused processes, we re-imagine how people, organizations, and technology interact to best accomplish and support the Air Force mission.  When we help with solutions, we don’t just stop with an idea or concept to solve a problem. We support with strategies and coordination to identify and engage partners for development and transition to sustainment. 

Successful outcomes from AF CyberWorx engagements are as diverse as the challenges they answer but always focus on the end-user to maximize mission impact and bring to bear our full range of academic, industry, and government partnerships to maximize transition potential. Resolve, Accelerate, Deliver! What would an AF CyberWorx-powered win look like for your organization?

USAFA Strong – Academy cadets and new Lts led a USAFA-wide project focused on fostering cadet connectedness and engagement opportunities to increase mental health at USAFA.

F-35 Mission Planning – Our UX designers assisted with improving the F-35 Link 16 editor with a larger picture of eventually improving the overall mission planning process.

CSfC – Government and industry specialists explored the capabilities and efficacy of Commercial Solutions for Classified use in a discovery forum.

OPTIMIS – The C-17 community needed an upgrade to their standards and evaluation scoring system. AF CyberWorx expanded on USAFA cadet capstone work, designed and coded a working prototype, and transitioned the project to Kessel Run.

ECO Talent Development – Air Force ECO experts examined career progression and placement capabilities of Expeditionary Cyber and Communications officers.

The Other Airmen – The right tool would allow Air Force innovators to develop their own custom solutions without specialized skills and resources.

T-38 Kubernetes – We are assisting in the UI and marketing for a joint Kubernetes trial on a T-38 enabling aircraft software upgrades mid-flight.

Missile Warning – The NORAD/NORTHCOM missile warning system needs to take advantage of the Next Gen architecture to reduce redundancy and eliminate stove-piped systems.

Genisys – We are helping the Air Force Test Center improve the design and user interface for their data analysis platform.

US Space Force Cyber Officer Talent Management – The US Space Force wants to start their incoming professionals on the right path with an upgraded talent development plan.

As Lt Col Helgeson stated above, we’ve had multiple wins the last quarter. OPTIMIS is but one example and shows what we love to do: take a previously unaddressed end-user problem, design potential solutions based on user needs, develop a prototype, and transition it to maturity and full sustainment. It had the added win of prompting another project that has the potential to greatly empower citizen developers.

In March 2018, the 21st Airlift Squadron (AS), Travis Air Force Base, California, needed help with updating their home-grown pilot standards and evaluation grading system, OPTIMIS. The unit built their database in MS Access years before and the developer had long since departed, leaving an unsupported system. Add to that their desire for more functionality and compatibility with the Graduate Training Integration Management System (GTIMS) system, and they were ready for some help.

During the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 USAFA semesters, the AF CyberWorx team guided a cadet capstone project, focusing on user research, refining problem understanding, and development of a lightweight prototype. As the cadets worked on the discovery phase of the new application, they developed their skills in teamwork, user design fundamentals, and project management. By the end of their capstone, the cadets created a low-fidelity prototype that had gone through the first phase of user testing at Travis AFB.

After the cadet team moved on, we continued iterating OPTIMIS through design and development with persistent user testing by our design professionals and application/feature coding by our developer. The effort culminated with a minimum viable product (MVP) running on a mobile platform with a cloud-hosted backend that could be demonstrated and further tested by users in the broader C-17 community.

While our design and development professionals matured the MVP through modern product development methods, other team members engaged a variety of champions and stakeholders across the Mobility Air Force and PEO/PMO community to find programs with similar objectives. The team identified Kessel Run as being the best fit with their similar, parallel efforts to modernize flight planning and mission support.

The team demonstrated the MVP to Kessel Run and they liked what they saw. The prototype was easy to understand, met all their requirements, was scalable to a larger user base, and was already designed for mobile applications. OPTIMIS officially transitioned to Kessel Run for integration into their planned suite of matured applications. That transition came with further development, maturity, long-term sustainment, and most importantly, delivering capability to the user. That’s our favorite part of a “win”: seeing the needs of end users being addressed as a solution moves from an idea through prototyping and testing to sustainment and implementation. 

Another winning aspect of the OPTIMIS project was its influence on another AF CyberWorx project: The Other Airmen grew from discussions during OPTIMIS development and collaboration as team members identified problems with tool availability and a “valley of death” gap between citizen developers and sustainers. The new project brings focus to bridging those gaps through use of low-code/no-code capability. OPTIMIS is an excellent example of what an AF CyberWorx win looks like: enabling high-potential follow-on projects and growing a home-grown solution to meet the needs of a wider user base. Here’s to many more wins in the future.

Q2 Newsletter

Team Comments

AF organizations need help solving big problems in more fields than just cyber. We’ve accelerated our pace and expanded our scope to meet the demand utilizing our seasoned user experience (UX) team and proven research methods. 

Putting the user first creates the best solutions for policy, operational, and organizational challenges enabling emerging warfare constructs and addressing warfighter resiliency. Our methods work for all areas of expertise, designing minimum viable products wherever they’re needed.

We work closely with problem owners and stakeholders to flow smoothly to development. Including partners from the start ensures everyone understands how to achieve successful implementation. Some paths include Other Transaction Authority, Commercial Solutions Offerings, or Small Business Innovation Research submissions. Our partners, including the 309 SXMG, SkiCAMP, EDDGE, and the CDO’s office have helped successfully transition projects to development.

We’re helping our customers with a broad range of projects including:

  • Air Force JADC2 test and exercise platform at Nellis AFB’s Shadow Operations Center
  • Kubernetes UI on a T-38 enabling the AF to land an aircraft with better software than it took off with
  • A common mission planning tool for the F-35 community
  • New approaches to resiliency at USAFA, helping medical and support organizations

We hosted thirteen government and industry specialists in a Business Intelligence (BizInt) design sprint 7-9 January 2020. BizInt was the first project in a working relationship with Air University Blue Horizons and focused on providing commanders with up-to-date logistics and contracting information. General David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, reacted positively to the BizInt app during a demonstration held on 14 May. Blue Horizons will demonstrate the tool to A4 and J4 soon for further leadership awareness. The future bright for this new capability.

Project Archer – We teamed up with Extreme Digital Development Group Enterprise iterate on the home-grown ARCHER program for analyst exercise scenario creation and data collection.

Assessor/AEISS – NORAD and NORTHCOM personnel, industry partners, and our team explored how to improve the User-Interface for AEISS to speed appropriate AF threat response.

6 Degrees of Kevin Beacon – Government and industry specialists examined requirements for a new cloud-based mission management tool to allow quicker, more accurate responses to civil search and rescue.

616 OC Convergence – Government participants explored how intelligence warfare could improve situational awareness and understanding to increase effectiveness.

Early Warning Radar Sustainment– Air Force personnel and industry participants came together to discover novel ways to sustain early warning radar capabilities for the next few decades.

CSfC – Government and industry specialists will explore the capabilities of Commercial Solutions for Classified Use in a discovery forum.

Kubernetes – How could the AF land an aircraft with better software than it took off with? AF CyberWorx is improving the UI/UX for a Kubernetes-based software platform on a T-38.

USAFA Strong – We are facilitating a project initiated by cadets and newly commissioned 2Lts focused on improving the mental health system at USAFA.

April Newsletter – 2020


I’m often asked what AF CyberWorx is, or what kind of Cyber products we develop. My reply is always that we are a problem-solving organization. It doesn’t matter if the problem involves Cyber, C2, Personnel Recovery, Logistics, Training, Personnel, or even the Mental Health problem. We are about to tackle them all with a few brand new 2Lts and USAFA Cadets. We believe that Human-Centered Design is applicable to any discipline, not just software development. Any problem can and should be focused on the user experience; otherwise, why bother? As far as development, the only Products we create are the Minimum Viable ones. They can be a software application, tech solution recommendation, process re-engineering, or a simple white paper. As for our methodology, we do not start anything without the “problem owner,” i.e. the stakeholder and user. If given time, we’ll do as much research and as many discovery calls as possible. We’ll bring in users and problem-owners, problem stakeholders, industry, and academia. We put a priority on finding and involving the solution sustainer right from the get go. This is the best team make-up to ensure we are going after the right problem, identifying the most viable capabilities to meet the user needs, and collaborating on a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to ensure the user gets exactly what they want. For the proverbial cherry on top, the sustainer is able to iterate on that MVP and be sure they’re working on the right solution. Respect to the sustainers who know and appreciate MVPs! While we may not have vast resources or big-time shout-outs on social media and tech conferences, we are a small team of doers punching well above our weight class and quietly delivering solutions for some of the DoD’s most complex problems. Hopefully this helps explain a bit about AF CyberWorx and what we are about. We look forward to solving a problem with you someday! 

OpsAI – Government and industry organizations networked and explored operational use cases of artificial intelligence with the possibility of contracts, SIBRs, and design sprints as paths forward.

SHoCnAwe – Twenty five government and industry participants collaborated in Las Vegas to identify the future capabilities of the Shadow Ops Center.

BizInt – Fifteen participants from Blue Horizons examined the needs of contracting personnel working on deployment requirements.

COVID-19 response – We moved to a virtual office, 3D-printed mask extensions, and shifted current projects to virtual design sessions.

Archer – Air Force exercise developers and analysts are crafting a solution for creating, tracking, and analyzing exercise scenarios and datapoint information.

Morpheus CSfC  – Government and industry participants will explore and ideate on the utilization of Commercial Solutions for Classified.

Six Degrees of Kevin Beacon – The AFRCC is improving how they assess and manage emergency response beacon signals for faster response time and continuity of operations.

Smells Like Convergence – Key stakeholders will collaborate on solutions for converging information and unit capabilities to optimize 16th AF’s Information Warfare mission.

Radar Modernization – ACC and LCMC need possible solutions for sustaining NORAD/NORTHCOM’s early warning radar capability for the next two decades.

CYBER RISK ECOSYSTEMCRE is a multi-domain C2 tool assisted by AI and machine learning, measuring and conveying cyber risks to commanders.
AUTOMATED READINESS FORECASTING Commanders need an interactive tool to suggest corrective actions and view readiness information.
OPTIMUSA mobile app that helps instructor pilots notate, keep track of, and update flight evaluations in-flight fast and accurately.


#ResqMe Spring AF CyberWorx


We are accepting applications for industry and government partners for our next sprint, taking place July 16-18, 2019. Deadline for applications is Friday, June 21, 2019

Participants in this three-day workshop-style event will use human-centered design to modernize or revolutionize the aircrew CSEL radio. Think you can contribute? We will be answering the question on how might the Air Force best modernize the CSEL radio to ensure robust connectivity between the Isolated Person, Command and Control (C2) nodes, and aircraft during launch, en route and recovery?

Learn More!

Collaboration June Newsletter AF CyberWorx



Lieutenant Colonel Michael Chiaramonte, Director of AF CyberWorx, had the honor of being the guest speaker at the monthly Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Associations (AFCEA) Rocky Mountain Chapter luncheon, held May 16 at the Peterson Air Force Base Club.

Read Now ?

Education june Email News 2019



AF CyberWorx reached out to former cadets who worked with the innovation organization on campus before graduating. We caught up with two alumnae and found out what they are doing now, how their experience in AF CyberWorx influenced them, and what today’s cadets can do to better prepare for a successful future. Read our first alumna feature today.

Read Now?

MDO Challenge AF CyberWorx May News


The newest #MDOChallenge from AFWERX is seeking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the US and its Allies’ integrated operations in multiple areas. AF CyberWorx has been helping build some of this technology. Learn more about the challenge now: 

Learn More ?


Cyber 9/12 Newsletter AF CYberWorx


There is no rest for a U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) cadet. The USAFA Cyber Competition Team had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. over spring break and participate in a cybersecurity breach challenge. They placed 1st within the student-based track and beat out 37 other competitor teams in the 7th Annual Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge.  

Read about the event and the Cyber Competition Team, Delogrand’s win on our blog.

Read Now!

Innovation May Newsletter AF CyberWorx



Recently, the academic deans of all five service academies and US Air Force Academy (USAFA) SAPR leads visited AF CyberWorx and received their first hands-on experience with human-centered design and left to approach their respective SAPR programs with new energy.

Read Now ?

Collaboration May Email News 2019



Join Lt Col Chiaramonte on Thursday, May 16 at 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. The luncheon will take place at the Peterson AFB Club, 260 Glasgow Ave #103, Colorado 80914. If you would like to be a part of the luncheon, register today! 

Join Us ?

MDO Challenge AF CyberWorx May News


The newest #MDOChallenge from AFWERX is seeking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the US and its Allies’ integrated operations in multiple areas. AF CyberWorx has been helping build some of this technology. The submission deadline to participate in the next step in the challenge is June 3. Learn more about the challenge now. 

Learn More ?


Optimis April Email Newsletter AF CYberWorx


There is a pilot shortage in the United States Air Force right now and part of the problem affecting pilot retention is the current evaluation process. It can take up to three months for a student pilot’s evaluation to be submitted after their evaluated flying time. 

Read about the app that can help change all that in our recent blog.

Read Now!

Innovation April Email News 2019



Airmen, did you know that you can tell us what to work on next? Send your ideas to IdeaScale today and work with us by bringing the future faster for the United States Air Force. 

Submit Idea ?

Collaboration April Newsletter AF CyberWorx



AF CyberWorx, together with our partner C-TRAC, will be hosting a Technology Transfer event in June to highlight the technology and resources available at USAFA. Stay tuned for more details!

Space Symposium AF CyberWorx April News


Will you be in town for the Space Symposium? Come visit us at the Catalyst Campus Open House on Wednesday, 10 April, 1:00-4:00 pm in the Peak Technology Room. Catalyst Campus is located at 555 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs.

Directions ?



AFCTM Newsletter December

We’re hosting a design sprint focused on building a better recruiting, talent management, and retention program for US Air Force cyber professionals. For this design sprint, we’re recruiting cyber professionals, HR reps, talent management experts, and, of course, military personnel.

The #AFCTM Application deadline is December 17, 2018, while the sprint is January 22-25. Apply today and join us on the USAFA campus in January.

Apply Now!


Education December Newsletter AF CyberWorx


When a team of firefighters is fighting a wildfire, how can they communicate more effectively among one another and command base to best save resources, tackle their challenge, and potentially save lives? This is just one of the many questions a project team is trying to answer with a self-healing drone swarm. Learn about the capstone in this month’s blog highlight.

Read Now ?


December Innovation AF CyberWorx Newsletter

From January 8-11, 2019 we’ll be in Las Vegas for CES in booth 1209. CES is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Stop by our booth to talk about how we can improve the tech of the Air Force and solve problems together in an innovative way.

Join Us ?

Upcoming Challenges AF CyberWorx


Join AF Cyberworx and the Air Force Research Laboratory in an upcoming challenge. 


The Vice Chief Challenge is an open competition to solicit innovative ideas to tackle Air Force level problems. This year’s challenge will take on Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).  Submissions must be entered into the Air Force IdeaScale before February 28, 2019

Join Us ?



PUCC November Newsletter AF CyberWorx

Recently, a project team working on a Flight Scheduling App visited a fighter squadron at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base (AFB) in North Carolina.

This trip to Seymour-Johnson helped the team shape their understanding of the problem, which will enable them to create a deliverable that drives to save flight schedulers time and effort, and results in fewer aborted flights. The project is in collaboration with ACC, Defense Innovation Unit, USMC, USN, and Microsoft.

Read more about their experience in this month’s spotlight blog. 

Read Now!



Innovation November AF CyberWorx

If the US Air Force started with a clean slate, what could they build to recruit and retain top Cyber professionals? You can join our conversation with key leaders from the Air Force, industry, and academia to reimagine and redesign the cyber talent management program within the Air Force. 

Apply Now ?



Collaboration November AF CyberWorx

From November 14-16, you’ll have the chance to chat and collaborate with us to solve Air Force problems at Table 9. CyberSat is in Arlington, VA at the Sheraton Pentagon City. This conference is known for bridging the gap between satellite, space, and government for cybersecurity solutions.

Join Us ?

upcoming challenges AF CyberWorx November


Join AF Cyberworx and the Air Force Research Laboratory in an upcoming challenge. 

The Air Force Vice Chief of Staff is challenging Airmen, academia and industry to enhance Multi-Domain Operations, which integrates joint and coalition capabilities across all military operations. In a world dominated by rapid innovation, can you look around and find a better way to establish situational awareness, develop courses of action or deliver effects at unmatched speed? 

Join Us ?