Virtual Air & Space Operations Center (AOC) Design Challenge

We are seeking to rapidly innovate and prototype a virtual reality platform for providing education and training in the organization, functions, and operations of an Air & Space Operations Center (AOC).

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Objective: We are seeking to rapidly innovate and prototype a virtual reality platform for providing education and training in the organization, functions, and operations of an Air & Space Operations Center (AOC).  [Note: An Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) provides operational-level command and control (C2) of air component forces as the focal point for planning, executing, and assessing air component operations. See AOC in AF Doctrine.]

AOC: https://www.doctrine.af.mil/Portals/61/documents/Annex_3-30/3-30-D70-C2-Appendix-AOC.pdf

Who Should Participate?

Software engineers and developers with abilities in producing educational and training environments through the use of Virtual Reality technologies, and with ideas about how to meet the objective described below.

How You Can Participate:

  1. Review challenge objectives and specifications
  2. Review evaluation criteria
  3. Develop a white paper to outlining an approach that meets requirements
  4. Submit the concept white paper describing your solution
    – There is no minimum/maximum page count for this submission
    – Participants are to provide their technology concept in the format best suited to convey the information as clearly and succinctly as possible

What’s in it for you?

  • A chance to secure funding for prototype development and experimentation work;
  • A chance to promote your work with the USAF as a collaborator and/or customer;
  • Official recognition for your company or idea; and
  • The opportunity to help the USAF and improve the operational effectiveness of the people that keep us safe.

When presenting a solution, what are the component parts that we are looking for?

Concepts & Ideas presented in a White Paper to describe the proposed solution, with evidence to show the submitter’s programming capability for the proposed solution.  While detailed graphic artistry is not a requirement for this prototype stage, your ability in this area would be a selling point for the sake of follow-on work.

We need your innovative solutions!

The advent of realistic simulations via Virtual Reality technologies, presents excellent opportunities to conduct more effective education and training in a wide array of applications.

We are looking for your concept for an educational environment created in a Virtual Reality workspace to provide Air Force students a basic understanding of the organization, component functions, and operations of an AOC.  The immediate objective is to create a prototype virtual reality application which achieves the key training and educational outcomes, while demonstrating the art of the possible with respect to the efficacy of VR in training and education.  Detailed graphic artistry is not required at this initial stage.  The goal of this particular Design Challenge process is to award contract(s) to develop and deploy a working prototype of a VR AOC educational environment for use at the Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL, as well as across the Air Force.

What are some of the specific areas that a solution must address?

Objective: Educational simulation to teach students about the functions within an AOC.  The product should be a basic framework to support fundamental education of AOC operations.

      1. Interactive: Must engage the students via an immersive environment
      2. Adaptable: Must work as stand-alone in a classroom setting, as each learning environment has non-standardized equipment, and with varying levels of internet connectivity and bandwidth (internet connectivity may be absent in some cases)
      3. Scalable:
        1. Must be scalable to handle varying levels of interaction from very basic “knowledge” level of learning to more involved application and synthesis levels.
        2. This could operate like a basic CBT (Computer-Based Training) at the beginning and scale up to look and feel more like a playable videogame where students can play a role in the AOC including completing actions and giving direction. This should eventually be applied to “battle” against other classrooms in a given conflict scenario (in this case, suitable network connectivity may be assumed).
        3. Must be scalable to handle multi-player scenarios.
      4. Intuitive:
        1. Must be easy to learn and use – successfully using the software is not a desired learning outcome
        2. Must be simple to administer by instructors with potentially minimal computer systems proficiency.
        3. Curriculum Development staff must have the ability to update the scenarios and change the script – AOCs vary across the multiple fronts and frequently change to meet operational needs.

Desired Learning Outcomes:

        1. Trainees should
          1. Know the basics of an AOC; how it is structured, how it operates, who it interacts with, and the role AOCs play in projecting air, space, and cyberspace power.
          2. Know the various organizations/divisions at an AOC and roles within those divisions (COD, ISRD, CPD, DIRCYBERFOR, etc.).
          3. Demonstrate how the roles within an AOC interact with others both within the AOC and externally.
          4. Understand how the Air Force integrates the employment of forces in air, space, and cyberspace (Force Packaging).
          5. Understand how all the branches of the US military work in unison to strengthen the nation’s warfighting capabilities.
          6. Apply decision-making skills in time-critical situations.

Possible Solutions:

        1. Software that can be distributed to classrooms and loaded onto any computer
          1. Requires computer hardware to do the work instead of network connection
          2. Could leverage internet connectivity, if available, for real-time collaboration and updates.
        2. Web-based application
          1. Dependent on internet connection availability and speed
          2. Interactive environments typically require lots of bandwidth or saved data
        3. COTS hardware with custom environment
          1. Uses currently available hardware such as Oculus systems – provides an accessible and standardize experience
        4. Mobile device app or service
          1. Solution should be cross-platform compatible / device agnostic.
          2. Requires mobile devices
          3. Potentially high Bandwidth requirement

Other considerations:

        1. How shall we measure the success of the training?

Challenge Deliverables:
Please provide a White Paper describing your solution. There is no minimum/maximum page count for this submission. Contributors are to provide their technology concept in the format best suited to convey the information as clearly and succinctly as possible.

How long is the Challenge, what is the Challenge process, and what’s next?

  • Posting a Solution: Solutions can be submitted between the start and end dates published below.  Late solutions will not be allowed and only solutions submitted on the Challenge submission site will be accepted for consideration.  The submission platform requires a written summary of your concept, which will be visible or “open” to any registered user of the submission platform.  There is a link provided in the submission section to upload your White Paper to a location that is only visible to the USAF customer and MGMWERX.  No information that is declared to be proprietary information will be made public, unless posted in a public field on the submission form.
    • Solutions Phase Start: 9/10/2019 @ 15:00 AM CST
    • Solutions Phase End: 10/17/2019 @ 11:59 PM CST
  • USAF Review, Selection, and Invitation: During this phase, a team of USAF customers will review solution proposals.  The top solution(s) meeting the specified requirements will be invited to participate in a design sprint phase beginning in late October 2019.
    • Selection Phase Start: 10/18/2019
    • Selection Phase End: 10/24/2019
  • Design Sprint: During this phase, invited solution providers will participate in a design workshop to refine the product specifications.  Competitors will have the opportunity to refine their design, based on revised specifications, and at the end of this phase, will pitch their updated design.  The deliverable at this stage is a shell of the software product to demonstrate the look and feel of the anticipated product, along with a detailed White Paper to thoroughly describe the planned features of the design.  At the end of this Design Sprint phase, the USAF customer team will review the updated designs and select a single provider or team of vendors to develop the prototype.
    • Design Sprint Phase Start: 10/25/2019
    • Design Sprint Phase End: 11/08/2019
  • Prototype Generation Phase: During this phase, the selected vendor will be compensated to create the prototype of the Virtual Education in AOC Operations product.
    • Prototype Generation Phase Start: 11/12/2019
    • Prototype Generation Phase End: 1/31/2020

Some government contracting terms and conditions

  • Announcement of MGMWERX events that are considered to have high potential for further actions that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transactional Authority for Prototype Projects per 10 USC 2371b, prizes for advanced technology achievement per 10 USC 2374a, and/or prize competitions per 15 USC 3719, may be made at the MGMWERX Challenge website.
  • All announcements made at the MGMWERX Challenge website are considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 2374a(b), 15 USC 3719(e) and 10 USC 2371b(b)(2).
  • All FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b).

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