LSUS Cyber Collaboratory Director Scott Isaacs, center, helps an engineering student and STRIKEWERX facilitator with a prototype during a design sprint for developing B-52 brake drilling. (Sean Green/STRIKEWERX)

By Elsa Hahne | Assistant Director of Creative Strategy, LSU Office of Research & Economic Development

Through sustained collaboration with STRIKEWERX, the innovation hub of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, LSU Shreveport’s Cyber Collaboratory has become a key provider of expertise and innovative solutions for nearby Barksdale Air Force Base and the nation’s air defense.

“We could have built our own maker space, but instead, we chose to collaborate with LSUS,” said Russ Mathers, director of STRIKEWERX. “From hardware, advanced modeling, and 3D printing to software and simulation, the Cyber Collaboratory has great capabilities, and we love to get them involved in projects that benefit our Airmen and, ultimately, our national security.”

STRIKEWERX frequently organizes what they call “design sprints” to help solve problems for the U.S. Air Force in five days or less. LSUS is always invited. Recent projects include maintenance of the now 60-year-old B-52 Stratofortress bomber planes, several of which are stationed at Barksdale, as well as maintenance of the 450 underground silos that are the launch facilities for the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.

“Instead of buying our own equipment, maintaining it, and keeping people trained to use it to help solve some of these critical challenges, it’s better for us to go to the people who are experts and partner with them,” Mathers said. “Working with the LSUS Cyber Collaboratory has paid huge dividends for us.”

Scott Isaacs, director of the Cyber Collaboratory, sees the sustained partnership as a testament to the innovation capacity LSUS is building in Shreveport.

“I’m quite proud that we’ve been able to win several of these challenges and even beat out some very large aeronautics companies in rapid prototyping and design,” Isaacs said.