Innovative Airmen shape operational training across DOD

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Tammie Moore
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center Public Affairs
Shortly after arriving at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, a staff sergeant assigned to the Integrated Air Defense Systems Analysis Squadron, or ACI, had an idea which completely reshaped the way intelligence training is conducted.

ThreatCast, the brainchild of Staff Sgt. Sean Garcia, an IADS analyst, created an online forum where intelligence experts could train operators in the field on an array of topics saving the Department of Defense millions of dollars in travel expenses in the two years since its inception.

“When I arrived at NASIC two years ago, after serving in a fighter squadron intelligence section, I noticed there was not a lot of operational training products,” Garcia, said. “A lack of information at that level led to intelligence gaps for the operational community.”

Garcia, a native of Weslaco, Texas, alongside a group of junior enlisted ACI Airmen brought his idea to life with the launch of the secure web-based application allowing Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force operators around the globe to remotely participate in secure training.

Airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, participated in the initial training session, Garcia said. “They really enjoyed it and it has grown from there.”

ThreatCast, which began as a monthly training program, became so popular that the ACI Airmen began hosting weekly training sessions and archiving each module for later use.

“For every 100 people watching live, 200 more watch it later,” said Staff Sgt. Jesse Choquette, NASIC ACI IADS analyst. “We’ve had thousands of (sessions) downloaded.”

ThreatCast, which initially launched through Defense Connect Online is shifting to the Defense Collaboration Service platform, as a way to better meet customer needs. In addition, to ensure ThreatCast training sessions remain valuable to users, the ACI team allows their customers to drive what training is offered.

“We aren’t just dreaming stuff up,” said Maj. Karson Kuhlman, NASIC ACI director of operations. “Our customers are telling us what their problems are and we are working with the intelligence community to provide them useful training. We ask for recommendations at the end of each session.”

The use of ThreatCast has saved the DOD more than $4 million since its inception because users no longer have to go on a temporary duty assignment for specialized training.

The program has revolutionized the work of the ACI section, Kuhlman said. “This is young Airmen doing great things. It is a game changer. There were several barriers and we overcame them all.”

Lt. Col. David Wallin, NASIC ACI commander, said he believes ThreatCast is the type of initiative that will become the norm in distributing critical information to a wide audience at little to no cost to the taxpayer.

“We’re proud in ACI for having been a part of something pioneering and hope it serves as an example to others that there are cost-effective ways in which we can serve our customers,” he said. “It’s also a great example of how some of our best and most creative ideas can come from some of the youngest members of our team. As leaders, we just need to make sure we listen.”