The Debrief: Hsu Innovation Institute

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Janiqua P. Robinson
  • Airman Magazine


In this episode of "The Debrief", the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, the CODEMANDOS, a 3-D printing guru and the director of the HSU Innovation Institute tell us about the current projects and accomplishments Airmen have achieved on the road to accelerate change, or lose.

The HSU Innovation Institute was founded by Paul S. Hsu, an engineer, entrepreneur, business leader and public servant, who was born in Taiwan and came to the United States as a first-generation immigrant in 1976. The Institute is located outside Hurlburt Field, Florida and is an example of a hub that is developing new skills in Air Force Special Operations Command Airmen by allowing them access to private sector resources. Through the hub, Airmen can learn coding, additive manufacturing and other innovative processes to problem solve issues in their work centers.
Through the HSU Innovation Institute, AFSOC Airmen have been able to develop full replicas of aircraft weapons systems for training, prototype pieces of equipment and repair tools that can and are being used in the real-world. The institute gives Airmen the tools to come up with practical uses for new technology that will streamline their workflows.
The CODEMANDOS have scripted applications that have streamlined monotonous processes in the 11th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron and have saved the Air Force more than $12 million dollars. The Continuous Process Improvement section has helped create a fuel spreader that saves the Air Force roughly $50,000 every time it’s used.

After receiving funding and resources from AFSOC, CODEMANDOS is well on its way to becoming a MAJCOM initiative. They are working on creating boot camps and fellowship opportunities that would allow Airmen across the Air Force to TDY and return to their squadrons with a problem-solving application or product. 

The CODEMANDOS cuts out development time and many security concerns when it comes to creating and using innovative technology on government equipment. By teaching Airmen within these squadrons to code, they’re empowered to fix processes that waste time and money, to automate repetitive processes and it cultivates a workplace that values and prioritizes innovative ideas.

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