WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio†-†Last fall the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center leadership team from across the country assembled at a strategic offsite with the purpose of assessing progress in delivering on what we call “the revolution in acquisition and product support.”
Building on our tremendous progress since the organization’s inception in 2012, we have set six new focus areas for the coming year. These areas are central to our organization’s purpose and our support for the Air Force mission: To fly, fight, and win … in air, space and cyberspace”.
In short, it is our center’s responsibility to deliver the most cost-effective capabilities to meet our national security needs, and the 2014 focus areas (see related graphic) will ensure AFLCMC continues building momentum in delivering to our motto: “providing the warfighter’s edge!”
As the trend in defense spending continues downward for the foreseeable future, it is essential to plan and execute an aggressive cost reduction strategy across the AFLCMC enterprise. In the near term, this means application of rigorous “should cost” methodologies affecting nearly every weapon system, many with life cycles spanning decades. By doing this, we have already extracted $2 billion in savings and expect that number to grow appreciably over the year. In direct correlation to ongoing efforts to reduce life cycle costs, we have also established a Product Support Enterprise governance process to help shape new product support strategies and subsequently to drive down weapon system support costs. Here, too, we are having tremendous success.
The next focus area deals with cyber security and mission assurance. Improving the way we support and manage these critical life cycle management responsibilities has far-reaching implications as we work to ensure weapon system connectivity and effectiveness in any environment. Our focus on cyber system security and mission assurance in our design, production, fielding and product support processes is leading to a more resilient and effective system of system capability. The criticality of this mission area cannot be overstated.
The next focus area deals with the AFLCMC workforce! Our professional team of civil servants, active duty, guard and reserve personnel, and contractors make it all happen. Recognizing that our center is not growing in numbers, we are focusing on strategic resource management and agile human capital processes. We are establishing a new way of operating that is more responsive to growing program demands as we prioritize and align our skilled workforce to deliver capabilities on literally thousands of efforts under our stewardship. In that light, we are developing a more flexible way to apply resources for supporting new acquisition efforts and product support responsibilities. We are taking our objective – right person at the right time – to a new level of flexibility, risk management, and resource optimization.
The next focus area deals with process standardization and continuous process improvement across the enterprise. In the near term, we are focusing on cycle time reductions as we drive “speed with discipline” in our program execution responsibilities. In a rapidly changing and dynamic threat environment, achieving reduced cycle times – from requirement generation to fielded capability – becomes all the more important in our delivery of leading edge combat capabilities.
The final focus area involves “building stronger partnerships”. This is particularly important in a resource constrained environment. Deliberate cooperation with industry, academia, and other government agencies help us find valuable “win-win” arrangements benefiting those organizations as well as the center’s mission execution. We have had valuable successes to date and plan to find other opportunities over the next year. These partnerships allow us to capitalize on the strengths of external organizations as we deliver to our commitments.
It’s no secret that the nation is facing growing budgetary pressures, and we must subsequently adjust how we manage our resources and processes. In addition to the center’s new focus areas, two previous tenets – unity of purpose and speed with discipline – will continue serving as guiding principles in our mission execution. However, in the end our most important element of success remains our talented workforce! These are the innovative, dedicated Airmen who work tirelessly each day to ensure our Air Force remains second to none … providing the warfighter’s edge!