Public-private partnerships key element to future success

  • Published
  • By Amy Schiess
  • Air Force Sustainment Center Public Affairs

Highly efficient public-private partnerships will be a key ingredient in providing successful sustainment outcomes and deterring adversaries in the future, according to Lt. Gen. Stacey Hawkins, commander of Air Force Sustainment Center.  His remarks during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber State of the Aerospace Industry Luncheon Dec. 2 coincided with the unveiling of the Air Force’s newest bomber, the B-21 Raider, in Palmdale, Calif., by a defense contractor later that day.

Once operational, the B-21 will undergo its programmed depot maintenance at AFSC’s Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base.

“[The B-21] is really a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the defense industrial base, and it’s also a reflection of when you build high-performing public-private partnerships, there is no limit to what you can do,” Hawkins said.

The general drew a parallel for the audience of almost 300 people between the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, in which the United States declared it would protect the Western Hemisphere from further colonization, to the similarities of the United States' role in today’s world environment.

“Just as we said in 1823 that we would defend the Western Hemisphere, we are equally diligent today at defeating China’s aggression if it happens against Taiwan. We are equally as diligent today and vigilant that if an acute threat of Russia decides it wants to threaten the NATO alliance, we will be there,” he said. “We will be there because our military capabilities underwrite our diplomatic efforts, our economic efforts and powers, and our ability to flow values, information and ideas to the rest of the world.”

The AFSC approaches this challenge with what the general refers to as the four Ps – Producing to promise, People, Process, and Preparing for the future. The AFSC Art of the Possible process of identifying constraints and working to eliminate them results in increasingly efficient operations. “The civilian Airmen of the Air Force Sustainment Center stand ready to deploy their knowledge and skills to move more planes through our facilities in less time while being the best stewards of our taxpayer dollars,” he said.

It is with the help of the chamber and the local community that Tinker has been able to flourish, he said. “The growth and success of this world-class aerospace center here in Oklahoma could not happen without you – our community partners. Your partnership has been instrumental in getting the bomber campus … into the 2023 President’s Budget – no small feat,” Hawkins said.

As for the future, he emphasized the importance of working within all levels of education to prepare future sustainers. “That requires an ecosystem of institutions of universities, trade schools, community colleges, all the way down to elementary schools to actually build the next generation of Airmen … to include our civilian Airmen.”

His remarks dovetailed with those made at the luncheon by state Senator Adam Pugh, who detailed his intent to better prepare Oklahoma students for job opportunities by introducing legislation that will require four years of both science and math curriculum for graduation.

Andre McMillian, vice president of Sustainment Operations, Military Operations, Pratt & Whitney, also spoke at the event and praised the OC-ALC for earning the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence for its work to dramatically improve maintenance production times for the F135, a Pratt & Whitney engine.

Future success will continue to depend on partnerships of all kinds, according to Hawkins.

“That combination of innovation that industry brings along with the capacity and the wartime surge capability that our organic depots bring is the recipe. It is the secret sauce that will take us into the next century.”

The approximately 40,000 civilian and military personnel of the Air Force Sustainment Center provide sustainment and logistics readiness to the nation through depot maintenance of aircraft and engines, supply chain management, and installation support.