Planning for new centers underway

During an Air Force Sustainment Center face-to-face Core Team Planning Meeting March 14-16 at Tinker Air Force Base, senior leaders and AFSC Core/Sub-Team members from across the command discuss the way ahead for the future AFSC. Pictured are, front from left, Trixie Brewer, AFSC Core Team Lead/591st Supply Chain Management Group deputy director, Air Force Global Logistics Support Center; and Col. Tom Miller, AFSC Core Team Lead/Ogden Air Logistics Center vice commander; back from left, Col. Mallory Knight,  AFSC Functional Lead for Engineering/Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Directorate of Engineering & Technical Management deputy director; Brig. Gen. Paul Sampson, Air Force Materiel Command mobilization assistant to the commander; Gil Montoya, AFSC Logistics Stand-Up Lead/448th Supply Chain Management Wing director, AFGLSC; and Ross Marshall, AFSC Stand-Up Lead/OC-ALC executive director.(Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

During an Air Force Sustainment Center face-to-face Core Team Planning Meeting March 14-16 at Tinker Air Force Base, senior leaders and AFSC Core/Sub-Team members from across the command discuss the way ahead for the future AFSC. Pictured are, front from left, Trixie Brewer, AFSC Core Team Lead/591st Supply Chain Management Group deputy director, Air Force Global Logistics Support Center; and Col. Tom Miller, AFSC Core Team Lead/Ogden Air Logistics Center vice commander; back from left, Col. Mallory Knight, AFSC Functional Lead for Engineering/Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Directorate of Engineering & Technical Management deputy director; Brig. Gen. Paul Sampson, Air Force Materiel Command mobilization assistant to the commander; Gil Montoya, AFSC Logistics Stand-Up Lead/448th Supply Chain Management Wing director, AFGLSC; and Ross Marshall, AFSC Stand-Up Lead/OC-ALC executive director.(Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- When the "Five Center Construct" (5CC) is approved and implemented, "We will still be producing products and still providing supplies and parts support to the warfighter," Ross Marshall, executive director of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, said recently. "What changes is the integration of the responsibilities and processes."

For example, mechanics historically have complained about shortages of parts, Mr. Marshall noted. "With the integration of supply and maintenance" under the 5CC, "the mechanic, the technician, will have better support," he said.

The ultimate goal is "to improve warfighter support and to do it more efficiently and effectively," Mr. Marshall said.

For most employees, "The work you do today is the work you'll do tomorrow," said Maj. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, OC-ALC commander.

The 5CC will realign Air Force Materiel Command from 12 centers to five: the Air Force Sustainment Center, headquartered at Tinker AFB; the AF Life Cycle Management Center, directed from Wright-Patterson AFB; the AF Test Center, directed from Edwards AFB; the AF Research Lab, also commanded from Wright-Patterson; and the AF Nuclear Weapons Center, directed from Kirtland AFB.

The AFSC will plan and execute depot maintenance operations and supply chain management, while the AFLCMC will be responsible for weapons system management. "The focus of the AFSC will be planning and execution of depot maintenance, supply chain management, and installation support by the air base wings," said Col. Tom Miller, vice commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, Utah.

How will the AFSC differ from the ALC? "There are many differences, but broadly, the maintenance mission and installation support mission is the same as an ALC, but the addition of supply chain management enables the synergy of all three under a single commander," Colonel Miller said. "System Program Offices will now be under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center."

The AFSC will include the Oklahoma City, Ogden, and Warner Robins Air Logistics Complexes, the 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, the 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing, plus the 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker AFB., the 75th ABW at Hill AFB, Utah, and the 78th ABW at Robins AFB, Ga., and responsibilities currently carried out by AFMC headquarters.

The AFLCMC will include all Program Executive Offices, former Aerospace Sustainment Directorate Program Offices, the AFSAC Directorate, the 66th Air Base Group, and the 88th Air Base Wing.

The system program offices currently aligned to the Aerospace Sustainment Directorate will report to their respective program executive officers. The PEOs align to the senior acquisition executive for all program execution responsibilities and are accountable as well to the AFLCMC commander for standard processes, product support enterprise issues, and organize, train, and equip efforts, Mr. Marshall said.

After the realignment, the AFSC will have "about 32,000 people," said General Litchfield, who has been nominated to lead the new AFSC. "There are about 50 of us planning this transition, and our job is to communicate to the rest of the force how we're going to approach things. It's a big challenge, but we must be successful in ensuring the workforce is confident in our planned structure when we stand up operations."

Much planning remains to be completed as the group works toward finalizing the leadership framework on or around June 1. AFMC's target for initial operational capability at each center is Oct. 1, 2012, although, "Following approval of the organizational change request, perhaps we'll be authorized to stand up some elements earlier," Mr. Marshall said.

The Defense Department announcement of significant budget cuts was "the driver" of the 5CC plan, Mr. Marshall said. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said "the way we will realize those reductions is through efficiencies, primarily by removing layers of overhead," Mr. Marshall related. Consequently, AFMC "is expected to absorb its share of the cuts."

Because the fiscal environment has "changed radically," Colonel Miller said, "We have to find a more effective way to operate." The changes will be in "the overhead," he said. "This will not be done like a peanut butter spread."

One of the "unique aspects" of the realignment process is "initiating personnel reductions at the same time we're planning for the standup" of the AFSC, Mr. Marshall noted. Consequently, "We're experiencing a 'brain drain' to some extent, because key people who know how to do this business are retiring. Therefore, we need to pick their brains before they walk out the door forever."

A team representing various AFMC bases and functions has been meeting regularly to consider the myriad aspects of the realignment. To illustrate, during a meeting in December 2011, 200 processes that will require integration were identified.

"It is important to recognize the robust effort we have underway is planning for execution and that changes will occur only after approval. The planning work we do now will reduce the turbulence after approval is given to move forward," Col. Miller said.

"We're being very thorough because we intend to be successful when it comes time to stand up the 5CC," Mr. Marshall added.

"This is an ongoing process, and progress to this point is commendable," General Litchfield said last Friday.

Gen. Donald Hoffman, AFMC commander, appointed General Litchfield as the AFSC planning lead. Mr. Marshall is the AFSC stand-up lead.

The AFSC Core Team Leads are Colonel Miller and Trixie Brewer, 591st Supply Chain Management Group deputy director.

In addition, 10 sub-teams of functional experts are responsible for logistics, infrastructure and bed-down, center administration, product support integration, manpower and personnel, engineering, contracting, information technology, command relations, and financial management. The sub-teams and functional leads were appointed from each of the three air logistics centers and the Air Force Global Logistics Support Center. In turn, the sub-teams have a mini-team working their piece of the planning.

The Core Team had a face-to-face planning meeting March 14-15 at Tinker, and they conduct a teleconference every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A video teleconference with center commanders is held once a week to provide AFMC updates, and every two weeks a program management review is conducted with the AFSC planning board of directors, the current ALC and AFGLSC commanders.