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Innovation event turns ideas into reality

Innovation event turns ideas into reality

1st Lt. Gini Hicks, Air Force Test Center Government Purchase Card contracting officer, uses the Expanded Use Government Purchase Card Authority for the first time, to fund an approved project, following the recent Million Dollar innovation event at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Eglin is one of the first military bases to use the authority, which funds innovation projects the same day they are approved. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)


A Million Dollar Day Innovation event recently held here gave Airmen the opportunity to submit ideas on ways to change the way the Air Force operates.

Kathy Reid, 96th Test Wing innovation officer, said there were 21 proposals to increase efficiencies, implement new technologies and reduce the amount of steps used in processes within test and other initiatives.

“Every innovation has its own story of the benefits we can gain,” Reid said.  “Some of the innovations will save time, money and increase capacity to conduct certain types of operations, like using drones to fly over a hurricane’s aftermath to do damage assessments.”

Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, 96th Test Wing commander, and base leaders fielded the ideas.

“The innovators that pitched their ideas at the Million Dollar Day were amazing,” Cain said.  “They were energized with bold ideas, pushing the Test Wing to be a premier 21st century team. I’m excited to support the winners moving their innovations forward. This event showed we’re committed to our culture of innovation, and Eglin’s Airmen are hungry to make this a better Air Force.”

Approved submissions were promptly awarded the requested funding needed to begin the innovations.  One approved submission was a faster way to fund the innovations.

Typically, whenever customers have requirements for supplies or services, they have to use the Government Purchase Card program, said Michelle Bailey, Air Force Test Center plans and programs chief.

A standard contract would be issued through the program.  The lead time for those can vary up to 120 days to get a contract action in place, Bailey said.

Through the GPC Expanded Use Authority, implemented in 2019, large transactions can now be completed, vendors paid and contracts written in as little as one day.  Bailey said one test and evaluation innovation was successfully processed on the day of the event, with more to follow.

Eglin is among the first military bases to use the authority, Bailey said.

“I think this has broad impacts for Eglin and our mission partners, who would otherwise see their procurements fall into the dark thresholds of this program,” she said.  “We hope to have a fully functioning GPC expanded use program here within the next two years.”

Reid encouraged Airmen with innovation ideas to participate.

“Our Airmen are excited about this,” she said.  “They are eager to submit their innovative ideas for positive change in the Air Force.  They want to make the Air Force better for our customers, our leaders, and their fellow Airmen.  It takes all of Team Eglin to make what may not seem possible, possible.”

For more information, call (850) 218-2994.