The U.S. Air Force‘s 99th Reconnaissance Squadron has implemented an “atomic” leadership model to speed up the acquisition of new technologies meant to optimize operations aboard the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, Defense News reported Friday.
Lt. Col. Matt Nussbaum, commander of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, told Defense News in an interview that the squadron does not have special authorities to make purchases outside the Defense Department‘s acquisition system, but the leadership gives lower-level personnel more freedom to explore opportunities.
A U-2 pilot named Maj. Ray, who asked not to reveal his full name, developed the squadron’s atomic leadership model and presented it to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein during the latter’s Nov. 30 trip to Beale Air Force Base, where the squadron operates.
The new operational model is designed to address procurement challenges associated with the bureaucratic process by giving operators the resources they need to pursue ideas, the report noted.
The 99th Reconnaissance Squadron bought new devices through the new leadership model, including a tablet that features applications such as a worldwide navigation database, routes and charts to support unclassified missions performed by U-2 pilots.
The squadron also acquired Garmin D2 watches to aid unclassified communications aboard U-2 planes, which are specially outfitted for the secure sharing of highly-classified information.