SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --
The 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing hosted the Air Force’s first Total Force Logistics Readiness Squadron commander’s summit at Scott Air Force Base March 21-22. It brought 218 LRS commanders, civilian directors and senior leaders together to discuss getting “back-to-the-basics” to improve mission generation support.
“Our primary focus, whether that be supply support related, vehicle or fuel related, was how we can synergize our efforts to improve the mission generated support and revitalize the logistics readiness squadrons,” said Col. David Sanford, 635th SCOW commander. “We had to lay some foundational education first, but in the end, I think the prevailing thoughts were that the summit was long overdue and well received. I think we hit the mark and feel our goal was accomplished. This will become an annual event now.”
The summit also provided an opportunity to network with fellow logisticians. Lt. Col. Illya Thomas, 2nd LRS commander, came from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, and said talking with his peers face-to-face helped him determine who he could reach out to if he had problems or questions.
“This has enlightened me to a lot of communications issues,” said Thomas. “Operationally, we move B-52s to different parts of the country. I want to make sure we’re capturing all of those things and communicating those, so when we have things that come up where we need to do combat missions, we have the support that we need. (Networking is important because) you never have enough time, people, equipment—all of the things you need—you never have enough of, organically, so you have to reach out to other units and organizations to get the support you need to affect combat operations. It’s imperative that we reach out and network, and know who to reach out to.”
Chief Master Sgt. Demetrice Webb, 60th LRS superintendent from Travis AFB in California said she gained further insight into her commander’s responsibilities, which would make it easier to help her commander get what he or she needs.
“This is my first time being back in a LRS in a while, so it was good to come here and get ‘re-blued’ in the LRS enterprise perspective,” Webb said. “The superintendent’s overarching responsibilities is what the commander is responsible for, so I can make sure my commander gets the information he or she needs to know to be effective in leading and managing the squadron.”
One of the Air Force Chief of Staff’s main priorities is taking care of Air Force squadrons, which are the basic, building block organizations, and they provide a specific operational or support capability. According to Goldfein, “squadrons are the beating heart of the Air Force and it’s time they are revitalized as the warfighting core.”
To accomplish this task, Sanford said he plans on creating two different summits in the future: one for sitting commanders and a pre-commander’s course for leaders before they take command.
“There is still a lack of education in the career field,” Sanford said. “An LRS commander typically will go to technical school, and they may get some training at Air Force Institute of Technology or other courses, but they don’t really have a course that helps bring it all together before they take command. Their command is based on experience. We need to have something that formalizes what they really need to be focused on to enhance the Air Force misison.
“This summit helps us tie it back to the CSAF’s No. 1 focus: squadron improvement and making it combat ready. This type of education gets at that. We found that a lot of the folks who attended didn’t know what we would consider the basics, and it has affected our performance. By bringing us all together and having a certain set of instruction, we improve the squadron health and performance.”
Another priority for Goldfein is enhancing multi-domain command and control, which is more than the ability to work in multiple domains; it provides the concept of operations and the technological foundation for better situational awareness, rapid decision making, and employment of the force across multiple domains.
Maj. Nena Myers, 435th Supply Chain Operations Squadron commander, said having a large turnout to the event was important because attendees would be better equipped to carry out Goldfein’s priorities.
“The Summit provides tools for the attendees to apply immediately,” Myers said. “Participants gained an increased sight picture of the enterprise view and an expanded understanding of the SCOW, enabling us all to improve squadron combat readiness. Having an enterprise view provides an opportunity to also get after the CSAF’s third priority of multi-domain operations. As logisticians, we are critical. That’s another reason why having this forum is so significant, because we all need to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities to better execute in a dynamic environment.”
Sanford said he was delighted with the rousing success of the summit, but he said he knows this was just the beginning of a new, improved endeavor.
“We just need to keep the momentum going,” Sanford said. “It’s more than just a summit; it’s a start. How do we keep reinforcing their education and training to make them successful and their squadrons better? The more we improve their overall big logistics view, they will be better commanders, leaders, and joint warfighters.”