Project Flashpoint: Air Refueling Logistic Reimagined
Imagine you just bought your first Tesla and are planning a road trip to show it off to your family. Your bags are packed, and you need to plan one stop to re-charge along the way. Unfortunately, you must send an email request directly to the Tesla Charging Office to reserve a Supercharger at a specific location for a specific time, and duration. The office then assigns you a “low priority.” Subsequently, all Superchargers are occupied at that time by other higher priorities. Your trip is canceled. Now, imagine you are planning to send a squadron of F-22s across the country for a training mission. Would you believe a similar process applies to your necessary air refueling (AR)? Unsurprisingly, an AR request for a training mission like this can also go unsupported. It is 2023, and planning to charge your Tesla is actually seamless from phone app to in-car touchscreen. There must be a better way for the Air Force to do this, right?


Project Flashpoint

Project Team:
Maj Tia Ahlf, Maj Robert Cowsert, Maj Michael Hampton, Mr. Brian Panaccione, Maj John Tilton

May 30, 2023
Read More in Innovation

Project Flashpoint was established through the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Innovation Leadership Seminar (CHILS) to investigate and develop solutions that address this problem head-on.

After interviewing more than 40 subject matter experts and conducting a comprehensive literature review, Project Flashpoint proposes innovative processes and supporting information systems that will give Airmen at all levels visibility into all AR missions and the authority to coordinate low-priority missions directly. The solution harnesses the power of crowdsourcing and decentralized command and control, enabling AF Lead Wings to train and operate in Agile Combat Employment operations.


The CHILS program is a collaborative effort between Air Force Futures and the University of Michigan to develop rising leaders through experiential learning to form and lead innovative teams to solve pressing Air Force problems.


The Chief of Staff of the Air Force Innovation Leadership Seminar (CHILS — a program within the IEA) is a direct response to Vice Chief General Allvin’s request to find and develop innovation engagement team leaders who can solve strategic operations problems rapidly. This 10-month program pairs a select group of rising military leaders with elite industry leaders, academe, and military members with the objective of learning how to lead in complex and competitive environments. This cadre of HPOs identify and work with challenging problem sets directly tied to USAF operational imperatives. Upon conclusion, graduates are able to practice the innovation mindset, quickly build and manage high performing teams that are capable of developing innovative solutions, elicit buy-in and support to execute solutions, and create sustainable change in the Department of the Air Force, and broaden connections made to industry and academe to swiftly develop and augment innovative solutions and innovate outside of the military bureaucracy

The pilot 5-month program concludes in May of 2023 upon which graduates will be awarded a certificate from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering and are eligible for a Creative Problem Solving Special Experience Identifier (SEI) in the military.


Learn more about the IEA and our partners at Innovatrium at


Click here to read an expanded version of the project


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