DAF transitions from AFWERX 2.0 to 3.0 during livestreamed event

  • Published
  • By Katie Milligan
AFWERX outgoing Director Col. Nathan Diller and Col. Elliott Leigh, the incoming director, discussed the imminent launch of AFWERX 3.0, the next iteration of the innovation organization coming in 2023, during a livestreamed event at the AFWERX hub in Dayton, Ohio, Dec. 14. AFWERX also released the AFWERX 2.0 report, detailing successes and progress made since its 2020 transition to the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL.
Andrew Hunter, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, highlighted how AFWERX 3.0 will address the Secretary of the Air Force’s Operational Imperatives, or OIs, via a prerecorded message. 
“AFWERX has an important role to play in delivering capabilities to address the OIs,” Hunter said. “The three core lines of effort in AFWERX – Spark, AFVentures, and Prime – will each be aligned to the Operational Imperatives. In addition to focusing on the Air Force’s top priorities, this will also serve to better coordinate activities across the AFWERX lines of effort.”
Hunter also emphasized the importance of going beyond prototyping to deliver capabilities.
“It’s also important to note that AFWERX 3.0 will have a deliberate focus on fielding capability,” Hunter said. “Therefore, we’ll apply additional effort to not only creating research and development funding opportunities, but also linking them to the procurement funding necessary to turn these projects into delivered capability at scale.” 
As part of the shift to version 3.0, AFWERX will add five key lines of effort in executing its more than $1 billion annual budget. These lines of effort are aimed at expanding technology, talent, transition and capabilities.  
Gen. Duke Richardson, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, shared his vision and continued support for this next iteration of AFWERX during a prerecorded message. 
“I've been around since AFWERX 1.0 started in 2017, and it's been a real joy to watch it evolve and strengthen and get even more aligned to what we're trying to do as a nation,” Richardson said. “When you think about AFWERX 3.0, I'd like you to think about it as really a continuation of 2.0, which itself was a continuation of 1.0 – making it stronger, making it more relevant, making it more of the Air Force fabric.”
AFRL Commander Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle thanked Diller for his service and welcomed Leigh to the organization via a prerecorded message.
“I really want to give a shoutout to Col. Nate Diller for all his leadership and his work in growing and maturing the AFWERX team. 2.0 has really made a broad impact for our nation,” Pringle said. “As we’re moving to 2023 and AFWERX is continuing to mature its model, we’ll see new improvements that build on this historical foundation between AFWERX and our Lab. Col. Elliott Leigh comes at a perfect time to mature some of these seedling efforts into something that is more sustainable.”
Following these messages, AFWERX representatives from each division detailed plans to shift under the 3.0 organization. Speakers included Lt. Col. Walter McMillan from SpaceWERX, Maj. Adam Sheridan from AFVentures, Col. Martin Salinas from Spark and Lt. Col. Thomas Meagher from the Prime division. Additional speakers included Yosef Hassan, contracting; Sarah French, financial management; Dr. Sean Gibbons, operations and Lt. Col. Wesley Spurlock, strategic integration.
The event closed with an ask me anything session moderated by McMillan and retired Col. James Bieryla, AFWERX deputy director.
The recorded event can be viewed on the AFWERX YouTube page here.
About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.   
AFWERX is an Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate that connects innovators across government, industry and academia. Through innovation and collaboration with our nation’s top subject-matter experts, AFWERX harnesses the power of ingenuity of internal talent while expanding technology, talent and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability. Additional information is available at  https://www.afwerx.com/.