A welder with the Rapid Development Integration Facility grinds down some metal while working on a project inside the 20,000-square-foot manufacturing and modification facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Dec. 2, 2015. Since its start, the RDIF has successfully returned more than $150 million to customers who can then use that money on additional projects. Additionally, the facility has enabled its customers to realize more than 70 percent cost savings and schedule time. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

JEDI program provides junior engineers with hands-on experience

To provide junior military engineers with hands-on experience solving engineering challenges impacting the Department of Defense and the Air Force, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center recently created a pilot program called the Junior Engineer Development Initiative or JEDI.

The idea for the initiative came from Maj. Richard Hanberg, an aerospace engineer in the F-22 Program Office, who was inspired after touring the Rapid Development Integration Facility (RDIF) on base.


The RDIF, which is part of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Force Directorate, is a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing and modification facility, which started as an organization that quickly modified aircraft and weapon systems to meet special operator needs and timelines.

It has evolved to where it quickly designs and manufactures mechanical and electrical solutions to include modifications for military aircraft and weapons systems around the world.

The facility provides multiple services and deliverables, such as adaptive engineering prototyping, alternative design and analysis solutions and Joint and Urgent Operational Needs/Requirements support. These services often save customers millions of dollars in the process.

“I was very impressed with the shop [RDIF], and what they do, so I recommended we work with AFLCMC Engineering Directorate and pitch a development program that would offer an opportunity to bring in junior engineers, providing them with experience not only designing solutions to problems, but fabricating parts and installing them on aircraft,” Hanberg said.

He went on to add that the experience touching aircraft, doing modifications and designs would be beneficial to acquisition engineers and would help them when they went back to their program offices.

Alan Brookshire, technical director of RDIF, said Hanberg.

“We do real design work, manufacture, build, assemble and deliver and these are skills that over the years, acquisition engineers tend to lose,” Brookshire said. “This program will help them keep their skills and give them an appreciation for what it takes to build things, so that later on in their careers when they get proposals from prime contractors, they will be able to analyze the proposals better.”

An engineer from AFLCMC has been selected to start the six-month program in June. It will be a temporary duty assignment.

For additional information about JEDI, contact Brookshire at 787-4246 or alan.brookshire.1@us.af.mil.

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