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AFCENT Command Technology Data Office hosts Hackathon

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs

Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central)’s Command Technology Data Office (CTDO) premiered a data-centric Hack-a-thon at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, April 29 to May 3, 2024. 

This effort focused on enabling the operationalization of the command and control solutions for complex problems sets relevant to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. The Hack-a-thon harnessed the collective expertise of 23 participants including Airmen, and academia partners to include George Mason University, Booz Allen Hamilton, Research Innovations, ScaleAI, as well as other industry collaborators.

“This was the first Hack-a-thon that was hosted both here at Shaw AFB and in Ninth Air Force (AFCENT),” said Master Sgt. Darren Heller, CTDO superintendent. “It is a testament to the Airmen of AFCENT and their desire to solve problem sets that are unique to the command, but also problem sets that affect the Department of the Air Force and our coalition partners.”

Over a five-day period, participants engaged with four strategic areas such as Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS), aircraft movements, Global Force Management (GFM), and optimization of streaming command and control data. They were judged by how well they assessed problem sets, collected data and developed a life cycle project management plan for the implantation of a solution. 

Each focus area is critical to AFCENT’s operational effectiveness and decision making to execute command and control in dynamic environments where Airmen leverage technology and accomplish the mission.

“In line with Lt. Gen. France’s vision for the command, this event supported our ability to deliver dominant coalition combat power and integrated command and control in concert with our partners in the region,” said Heller. 

Heller also referenced Chief Master Sgt. Katherine Grabham, AFCENT Command Chief’s statement about looking for opportunities to improve upon our processes, discover ways to provide all-domain effects into the battlespace and rapidly disseminate information both internally and to our partners.
The Hack-a-thon furthered AFCENT’s effort to support CENTCOM’s data and digitalization transformation efforts, establishing a foundation of data literacy paired with innovation. 

“This event was one of the many steps the CTDO is taking to help shape the command into a data-driven headquarters,” said Heller. “The 9 AF (AFCENT) Battle Lab is a space designed to breed innovation and the CTDO, in concert with our industry partners, have robust capabilities to build out ideas and solutions. Airmen can come to the Battle Lab anytime, any day.”

The CTDO emphasizes the value in modernizing the joint force by providing resources for real-world problem solving and application. If an organization under AFCENT needs help tackling their problem sets, they can reach out for tools.