Challenge accepted: Tinker employee submits winning time-saving idea

  • Published
  • By Ron Mullan
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

An information system security manager in the 72nd Air Base Wing Communications Directorate is one of 15 winners announced recently in the 2020 Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Challenge. The theme of this year’s challenge was “Saving Airmen Time.”

Theresa Rogers was notified by email from Gen. David Allvin congratulating her on her winning idea. In a follow-up tele-conference, the general discussed the winning submissions and that a point of contact on the air staff would work directly with all 15 winners on their ideas.

Rogers’ idea is to develop a Master Asset and Vulnerability Tracking System.

“I was very excited to have my idea selected,” said Rogers, who has been in SC for about six years. “I’ve been solidifying the requirements and bits and pieces of this idea for at least four years. The thought that it might finally be coming to fruition is very exciting.”

In her time with SC, Rogers has worked in application quality testing, configuration management and cybersecurity. Throughout every position she found that having up-to-date information about the technology assets she was working with was vitally important.

Rogers explained that if you find a bug in a piece of software, that bug may be indicative of larger issues that may affect more than just the application being tested. The problem, Rogers continued, is that there is not currently a one-stop shop system to help keep track of the overwhelming amount of information related to information technology assets.

“Imagine a Walmart manager trying to keep track of the thousands of items in inventory, yet only having segmented tracking systems and an Excel worksheet to work with,” Rogers said. “My idea was to create a consolidated and near-real time inventory and vulnerability/risk assessment tracking system.”

Rogers said her Master Asset and Vulnerability Tracking System has the potential to become a best practice Air Force wide.

“If the Air Force Office of the Chief Information Officer can find a way to consolidate the systems the Air Force is already using, it would greatly reduce the amount of time collecting the information by hand,” Rogers said, adding that it would also increase the speed and oversight of possible vulnerabilities or issues that could affect technology assets.

“During my research for the idea, I was actually able to find a fantastic system called Findings Management and Tracking System that a group of Navy personnel at the Navy Surface Warfare Center created about 10 years ago,” Rogers said. “I’m trying to find a way to bring over a copy of FMATS so that the Air Force can use it to keep track of the asset and vulnerability information needed when submitting assessment packages for headquarters level approval.”

Rogers offered this bit of advice to others who have ideas to accelerate change. First is to use idea platforms such as Then, she said, don’t be afraid to ask “dumb” questions.

“If you are struggling with something, your pain is likely not unique,” Rogers said. “And if your idea doesn’t get chosen, it doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy idea. Keep at it. Be tenacious.”