Robins Air Force Base announced early February the groundbreaking for a new software facility expansion project. They broke ground January 13th on the expansion which will add 14,800 square feet of space to the 402nd Software Engineering Group, accommodating an additional 140 software professionals.
This project is a partnership between the Warner Robins-Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC) and the 78th Civil Engineering Group. It is the first Air Force project using new authorities given the service in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The authorization had the advocacy of the 21st Century Partnership and was supported by the Middle Georgia Congressional Delegation. It allows the WR-ALC and the base to use specific funding up to $6 million to change or modify existing structures using local authorities instead going to Congress. This is the first of several facility projects planned to use this authority.
As reported by the base, “Our work force and the workload we do is growing by leaps and bounds, and this facility will be instrumental in that growth,” said Bob Herrmann, 402nd Software Engineering Group director. “Last year was a banner year for software. We produced over 1.8 million hours of software work, delivered over 300 software deliverables, and added 150 new software professionals.”
With the growth, Herrmann said they will be hiring new personnel.
“We will be hiring new engineers and software professionals with a goal of hiring 150 new people this year,” said Herrmann. “To meet that goal, we have increased our recruiting. We also attended virtual career fairs at over 25 schools to include every engineering and computer science school in the state of Georgia.”
Herrmann said they are working with their local school partnerships to increase the number of interns on base.
“We have been working with the Houston County Board of Education, Macon-Bibb Board of Education, Mercer University and Middle Georgia State University,” said Herrmann. “We have increased our number of interns from 75 to 110. We are pioneering an internship program that includes recent high school graduates to increase our STEM pipeline.”
Brig. Gen. Jennifer Hammerstedt, WR-ALC commander, said it was unique to celebrate a new software construction on base following the recent establishment of three software innovation facilities off base.
“Today is exciting because we are breaking ground on the installation which is great for our software future” said Hammerstedt. “This is the first project to be executed using the new authority in our United States Air Force”.
Hammerstedt said the facility expansion is important to the WR-ALC’s future.
“Not a wheel turns in our United States Air Force without software and that is why the demand is insatiable, especially as we go forward into the next decades,” she said.
“I personally can’t think of a better project, a better mission-impacting reason, than to be developing and testing software for the F-15EX aircraft, F-35 aircraft, and anything else our Air Force calls on us to do,” she continued at the groundbreaking ceremony, “so that 10 or 20 years from now there will be people standing in the halls of where we stand now talking about all the great work you and your teams do to support the warfighter.”