Thinking caps on for squadron innovation Published July 6, 2020 By Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates -- The Squadron Innovation Fund program is available here to help Airmen improve the Air Force. Squadron innovation is designed to accelerate implementation of the National Defense Strategy by increasing readiness, returning time back to Airmen enhancing lethality of the force and reducing costs. “Basically, SIF is a way to make innovative ideas a reality,” said 1st Lt. Tierra Franklin, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer-in-charge of the Hawk Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “A lot of times, we get bogged down in funding constraints, but the SIF is a way to overcome this barrier. Moreover, it’s an avenue to facilitate change.” While the SIF helps to overcome the constraints of funding, ideas for making the Air Force better can come from any source. “Airmen may have friends in the private industry, and they may be using something that makes them wonder why we’re not using this in the Air Force,” said Master Sgt. Angelo Lowrie, 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron manpower superintendent. “So the program is a way for people at all levels to use this resource to help make the Air Force better.” Criteria for submitting an idea for consideration is outlined. “We’re looking for an innovative idea and accompanying paperwork,” said Franklin. We’ll want to know what materials are needed to make this idea a reality, what vendor/source will the asset be coming from and what problem it would solve.” The SIF program touches all the priorities of the wing – taking care of Airmen, executing the mission and leaving it better. “If we’re using the SIF to acquisition innovation, to help our Airmen accomplish the mission better and improve quality of life, then we have definitely accomplished those things,” said Lowrie. “The beautiful thing about the SIF is it’s no harm, no foul. If the idea didn’t work, the Air Force is good with that, as long as there were some lessons learned.” Lessons learned may include trying to start things from a smaller scale, instead of trying to go for the game-changer right away. “I’ve done the SIF program for two years back at home station, and I think the biggest hang-up some Airmen have is the idea isn’t big enough to them,” said Lowrie. “I think the mentality they should have is not whether it’s big enough on a grand scale, it’s whether or not this helps me accomplish the mission better. It could be something really small, and it may not affect the Air force, but it might affect you and your peers. So Airmen can use this money to take of themselves and the others that work with them.” The deadline to submit ideas for this cycle is July 17, 2020. Submissions can be sent to the 380 AEW/SIF org box. Questions can be sent to 1st Lt. Franklin at email@example.com, and Master Sgt. Lowrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.