‘FORCECON 2022’ spurs collaboration, innovation for Air Force, industry, academia

US Air Force | May. 29, 2022

By Capt. Lauren Woods


Dr. Wendy Walsh, Air Education and Training Command chief learning officer, gives opening remarks on the importance of innovation and collaboration during the Air Education and Training Command Innovation Day of FORCECON 2022 at Tech Port San Antonio, Texas, May 24, 2022. FORCECON 2022 is an interactive industry and academia collider event where participants can connect with industry and small business advisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Keith James)

PORT SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFNS) --  The inaugural FORCECON 2022: Innovation – Technology – Gaming convention kicked off in San Antonio with a collider event May 24-25 to spur collaboration between the military, industry and academia, with a goal of tackling some of the military’s toughest challenges in the areas of force development, and installation and mission support.

We're looking to build new ideas, break how we've been doing things, to be able to do them better within a system,” said Dr. Wendy Walsh, Air Education and Training Command chief learning officer, who opened the first day of the event. “It takes all of us, industry, academia, and military, to connect the pieces and create a culture of continuous improvement, so that we can sustain the innovation until it no longer serves us.”

Attendees of FORCECON 2022 speak with industry representatives and learn about innovation in various expo booths during Innovation Day of FORCECON 2022 at Tech Port San Antonio, Texas, May 24, 2022. FORCECON 2022 is an interactive industry and academia collider event where participants can connect with industry and small business advisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Keith James)

Fueled by a team-up between members representing the University of Texas-San Antonio’s Center for Government Contracting, AETC and Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, the agenda for the industry collider included presentations, panels and an exposition hall with 70 vendors focused on innovation in force development and mission support.  

Highlights from the first day, which focused on AETC innovation priorities, included remarks from San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Guy Walsh, UTSA National Security Collaboration Center executive director, as well as presentations on teaming with academia, digital proficiency and technology innovations in learning.

“Events such as FORCECON 2022 showcase “Military City USA’s” commitment to helping strengthen relationships between the DoD, academia and industry,” Nirenberg said. “These relationships and joint efforts on emerging technology strengthen our national security.”

The day concluded with the iChallenge competition, where seven finalists from AETC presented pitches to a panel of judges for a chance to win $250,000 in funding for their innovative ideas.

Participants in the FORCECON 2022 iChallenge competition pose for a group photo at Port San Antonio, Texas, May 24, 2022. FORCECON 2022 is an interactive industry and academia collider event where participants can connect with industry and small business advisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Keith James)

tags: STEM