Kessel Run receives top honors

  • Published
  • By Patty Welsh
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Detachment 12’s Kessel Run team recently received two Air Force-wide awards for its achievements.

During the September Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber conference, Air Force and AFA senior leaders presented the team with the General Larry O. Spencer Innovation award and the Theodore Van Karman award.

“We are honored to receive these awards on behalf of all the Kessel Runners past and present. They are great recognition for hard-fought transformation from a legacy system to 10 years without delivering capability to actually delivering new war-winning capabilities into operations every 12 hours, and from growing from a 20 person ‘experiment’ to over 700 people sparking change across the DOD,” said Lt. Col. Jeremiah Sanders, deputy commander, Det. 12, Kessel Run. “We recognize there is still much we need to improve and warfighters who we’ve yet to build modern software for, so the Kessel Run is just beginning.”

The Innovation award is an annual Air Force award, created in 2015, and named after former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Larry O. Spencer, who helped create a novel culture for Airmen to follow. It recognizes an individual or team who demonstrates innovation to improve efficiency, operational readiness and replication of the innovation across the Air Force enterprise.

The Kessel Run team received this award for its work modernizing command, control and intelligence capabilities enhancing combat lethality across the Department of Defense. According to the award package, the team “executes $1.8 billion in Section 804 rapid fielding efforts to continuously deliver war-winning software our Airmen love…” It continues by saying “Kessel Run shattered the status quo of IT and software acquisitions over the past year and ushered in a sea-change to all facets of acquisitions. Kessel Run’s successes tremendously improved warfighter capabilities and ignited a paradigm shift in Air Force acquisitions.”

Air Force senior leaders are now championing this shift to the point where Air Force Service Acquisition Executive Dr. Will Roper said it’s the “digital workforce model of the future.”

“This award was really earned by two amazing groups,” said Steve Wert, program executive officer Digital. “It recognizes the original small creative team that first implemented this innovative way of operating within the DOD, but also the people who joined later and achieved the hard work of scaling Kessel Run to what it is today. That original team demonstrated bravery and creativity, and the second, continuing innovation and focused persistence. This experiment continues to evolve and test what can be achieved.”

The Theodore Von Karman award recognizes the most outstanding contribution to national defense in the field of science and engineering relating to aerospace activity by an Air Force member, civilian, group or unit. Karman was a Hungarian-American mathematician, aerospace engineer and physicist noted for his work on aerodynamics.

The specific accomplishment noted in Kessel Run’s winning award package related to its members work developing their Kronos software to revolutionize the complex and timely processes associated with the flying and maintenance schedules for F-35 aircraft.

“Our team is one of the few organizations within the Air Force at this time continuously delivering software and value to our warfighters. I am increasingly proud to lead this team of agile software and acquisition professionals,” said Col. Enrique Oti, commander, Det 12.