Center for Rapid Innovation realigns under newly designated Integrated Capabilities Directorate
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) — The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Center for Rapid Innovation, or CRI, has realigned under the Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Directorate, which also underwent a name change and is now called the Integrated Capabilities Directorate to better reflect the directorate’s mission and vision. An organizational change request signed by Gen. Duke Richardson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Aug. 5, 2022, formalized the name change and transfer.
“CRI has a phenomenal track record of addressing urgent major command and field command needs on accelerated, operationally relevant timescales, and I’m excited about this move,” said AFRL Commander Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle. “This transfer will provide a more stable workforce for CRI while still enabling them to leverage the extensive breadth and depth of technical expertise within AFRL/RS and AFRL as a whole.”
While CRI will continue its mission of rapidly developing and delivering solutions that address near-term warfighter needs, it will now serve as one of the divisions within AFRL’s Integrated Capabilities Directorate along with the Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation, or SDPE, office, the Transformational Capabilities Office, or TCO, and the Architecture Design and Integration Division. Moving forward, current CRI employees will work with their supervisors through the transition for opportunities to continue supporting the CRI or to transition to other roles in their current technology directorates.
A new CRI division director at the DR-V level will be hired via a competitive announcement on USAJOBS. This position will have direct ties to the AFRL commander. In addition to the DR-V director, the internal realignment of existing positions within AFRL will also allow the CRI to manage its personnel directly and cover additional future projects through additional dedicated civilian and military personnel.
Since its inception in 2006, CRI has operated as a matrixed group with personnel from across AFRL. Several proposals were presented to the AFRL command team in recent months, and Pringle ultimately selected realignment as the best plan for enhancing and streamlining the current model.
“CRI’s attributes align very closely with how SDPE and TCO missions are planned, resourced and executed,” said Chris Ristich, the director of the Integrated Capabilities Directorate. “Under AFRL/RS, CRI will be well poised to continue with the rapid infusion, integration and innovation of science and technology-based solutions. The addition of CRI also brings with it established relationships that all RS mission areas can tap into, new opportunities for employees, fresh mindsets and skillsets and a larger network for transition partners and operational expertise. It’s a win-win for all.”
AFRL established the CRI to streamline the application of new and existing technologies that address dynamic changes in air, space, ground and cyber battlespaces and solve evolving and urgent operational challenges. The unique process employs diverse subject matter expertise and a collaborative government-industry technical and management capability to rapidly develop, test and deploy innovative prototype solutions for dynamic operational environments. The ROBOpilot unmanned air platform, which completed its fourth successful flight test in 2020, is just one example of a technology developed by CRI.
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.