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News | March 4, 2021

Army SMDC innovators ready to DIVE in

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Rognstad U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

After months of collaboration, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command teams from the U.S. Army Satellite Operations Brigade and 1st Space Brigade, who took first place and biggest leap honors in December for concepts designed during the Develop Innovate Visualize and Execute competition, are ready to implement their ideas.

DIVE is a product of the “Designing Space” innovation event sponsored by Air University with U.S. Space Command. The inaugural five-week event, running Nov. 10 to Dec. 18, posed the question, “How do we develop space warfighting leaders?” to service members from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, U.S. Army and allied nations.

The competition fostered creativity in developing a product that cultivates leadership among warfighters from multiple service branches. Six teams competed for an opportunity to win $10,000 toward prototyping their concepts for real-world implementation.

“I’m really proud of the team and proud that the SATOPS Brigade came out on top,” Army Col. Stephen Parish, SATOPS Brigade commander, said. “I thought their idea was very well-crafted, and they worked long and hard on it.”

Their idea, called Dynamic Space Warfighting Teams, proposes to replace the traditional military organizational structure with teams brought together on demand from workforce pools based on mission needs, individual skills and leadership development objectives. In addition to the immediate effect of an agile team focused on a specific problem, dynamic teaming over time will develop leadership and technical skills more rapidly and with greater flexibly.

“This will help the warfighter when complex problems arise throughout different combatant commands,” said Army Capt. James Reichard, DSWT team member and SATOPS Brigade plans and operations officer. “Those leaders at those levels will be able to establish their own dynamic teams for a particular issue or anomaly they are having to get a quicker response. This will put all the players together much quicker than sending out hundreds of emails to try to figure who is available in a specific time zone.”

The team was offered $10,000 from USSPACECOM to use toward their innovation, which they plan to carry out in the upcoming months.

Wing Commander Rob Seabrook, DSWT team member and an Australian satellite operations officer embedded with SATOPS Brigade, said his team is developing their concept in more detail.

“Space Command has provided some seed funding, and later in 2021 they have an expectation we will provide a more detailed project plan,” Seabrook said. “So we are in the phase of developing the idea into a more executable product.”

Soldiers from 1st Space Brigade, teamed up with Soldiers from 10th Special Forces Group, to create a three-day leadership challenge, culminating in a virtual escape room that won the “biggest leap” in the competition. They were granted $7,500 for their concept, which will now go toward the creation of a physical representation of the escape room.

“Outer Edge,” pits challengers with a warfighting escape room experience where teams of Soldiers cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles and accomplish tasks, physical and mental, in one or more rooms to progress and achieve the goal of escaping the room in a limited amount of time.

“I love the idea of creating a warfighting experience through a combination of the NFL Combine and an escape room,” said Army Maj. Daniel McCarey, Outer Edge team captain and commanader of 2nd Space Company, 1st Space Brigade. “The idea of physical and mental stress combined with problem solving teamwork - training in those stressful environments - is really important because making those decisions are just as crucial to carrying out those decisions.”

McCarey said his team will build the escape room at an undisclosed location in the next few months.