BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 9th Intelligence Squadron hosted a four-person team from
Stanford University’s Hacking 4 Defense class, Apr. 20, 2018.
The non-profit organization, H4D’s purpose is to generate problem-solving
cooperation between academia and the Department of Defense. This specific team’s
goal is to help the Air Force through the continuous improvement
processes associated with the conversion of traditional film for use on a
digital platform associated with the aerial imagery process, exploitation and
dissemination from the Optical Bar Camera that flies on the U-2 aircraft.
As the partnership began, the initial problem statement was framed
around a computer vision solution, but Chief Master Sgt. Ian Eishen, 9th
Intelligence Squadron superintendent, said the team may find something else
that will be a better fit.
“Partnering with academia exposes our Airmen to an entirely
different mindset, thought process and network to couple with what they are
already developing on an Air Force base,” Eishen said. “This adds a new set of
tools to their toolbox for attacking future problem sets.”
Eishen also stressed the importance of bringing the Stanford
students to the actual work environment for a firsthand look at the equipment
and processes involved. Many of the students have no military background or
knowledge base, so it is vital they understand the Airmen’s actions within
processes in an effort to streamline operations.
During their visit, the students were shown the measures 9th
Reconnaissance Wing pilots must take to execute a successful flight, they
visited the Film Processing Center and viewed the end products from the unit’s
“Just seeing the whole process from one end to another helps
us to see where our initial problem statement fits in the overall system, and
more importantly, if this is the most important problem right now that we need
to solve,” said Joseph Lee, Stanford H4D student.
“This tour has really allowed us to understand how the
process here works from the perspective of those who work on this mission,” said
Minjia Zhong, Stanford H4D student. “It’s really allowed me to empathize with the
struggles that these people here are facing day to day.”
The tour of Beale was one piece of the constant
interaction between Beale Airmen and the H4D students. The program is scheduled
to conclude in June with the presentation of proposed avenues for the mission