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USSF ISR grows in-house programming capability with Supra Coders – Space Operations Command

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By Mike Slater, Space Base Delta 1 / Published September 08, 2022
The logo represents the Supra Coder program which creates a home-grown coding capability using Guardians. The in-house coding capability Supra Coders provide means a Guardian, who has been in the seat as an end-user, is actually developing the software necessary to accomplish missions. It also supports the USSF’s goal to cultivate digital fluency among all Guardians. (Courtesy Graphic)
Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance runs on technology and that technology runs on programmers. The Supra Coder program creates a home-grown coding capability using Guardians.
The program consists of an intensive three-month training called Software Development Immersive, a fast-paced coding boot camp, followed by a three-month internship with a U.S. Space Force software factory.
“The coding boot camp taught me the skillset to meaningfully contribute to a project,” said Spc. 4 Aileen Ocampo, a Full Stack Developer at Defensive Cyberspace Operations Support. “The Space Force is looking at ways to modernize, and with this training, I feel I can have an impact on that.”
The in-house coding capability Supra Coders provide means a Guardian, who has been in the seat as an end-user, is actually developing the software necessary to accomplish missions. It also supports the USSF’s goal to cultivate digital fluency among all Guardians.
“The U.S. Space Force put a lot of effort into developing Supra Coders the right way, with the right training to yield a knowledgeable, capable programmer,” said USSF Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Collingridge, Space Delta 6 – Cyber Operations, senior enlisted leader. “Now we’re working to make sure we utilize them in the right way.”
Several Space Deltas formed Combat Development Teams, allowing their Supra Coders to work full time in areas that utilize their talents, training and experience as operators.
“The Supra Coders are a pretty tight community, even across Deltas,” said 1st Lt. Kelsey Puttkammer, DEL 7 – ISR combat development team deputy director. “Being synced with the other teams allows someone to come up with a software solution and share it with other units, who can then tailor it to their needs and their mission.”
DEL 7 is currently working on an operations log, which will allow units to see and understand what other ISR functions are doing to better collaborate and avoid duplications of effort.
“An ops log may seem like a relatively small thing, but giving Guardians a tool that doesn’t crash and can be streamlined depending on their mission, while still being collaborative and end user-focused means more attention going to the requirements and customers,” said Puttkammer.
DEL 6 uses their Combat Development Team to provide solutions and streamline delivery to other Deltas relying on their data and support. The team lends its expertise in other ways as well.
“The Supra Coders provide benefits even outside of coding, it helps to have Guardians who ‘speak the language’ when interacting with customers and contractors,” said Collingridge. “Being able to communicate requests, requirements and deliverables in a realistic, knowledgeable way makes getting the right solution faster and easier, without as much back and forth or things getting lost in translation.”
The Supra Coder program is relatively new, but program managers are expanding class sizes to meet the growing need for the capability it provides, as Deltas find innovative ways to utilize their Supra Coder talent.
Visit supracoders.us if you would like to know more about the Supra Coder program, including how to apply.

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