Kessel Run Lab Hits Hyperdrive

Thirty active duty airmen, Air Force civilians and contractors gathered in a shared workspace here May 7 for the opening of the Kessel Run Experimentation Lab, where they will build the next generation of combat software.

WeWork’s shared innovation space in Boston’s North End is usually home to constantly shifting startup companies, but the T-shirt-and-jeans-wearing airmen milling around its fully-stocked kitchenette sounded a bit different from their similarly dressed office mates. Instead of compound annual growth rate, or return on investment, they used terms such as “kill chain integration” and “battle damage assessment.” This shared space, occupied by a smattering of startups, will also serve as the Air Force’s KREL.

“It’s one thing to say you’re going to do business differently,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel, the Air Force’s director of information technology acquisition process development at the Pentagon. “But look around and you can see that these airmen are learning. They’re building actual products, and they’re writing the book on how to be combat engineers for the information age.”

Zabel cut the ribbon for the 90-seat facility, complete with open floor plans, paired workstations and small, private offices where teams tackle technological hurdles faced by warfighters. Some…

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