Robins Proud: State of the Digital Air Base Wing

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson

The April Robins Proud Forum held April 27 served as a status update for the 78th Digital Air Base Wing campaign at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Col. Brian Moore, Robins Installation Commander, was joined by members of Team Robins who are leading the campaign efforts.

“Digital transformation creates speed,” said Moore. “And as the commander of Air Force Materiel Command Gen. Arnold Bunch likes to say, ‘speed with discipline is a game changer’ for our business. We do our warfighting business every day. That requires innovation and digital transformation. COVID-19 created an opportunity for digital transformation through (Commercial Virtual Remote) streaming capabilities and teleconferencing.”

Danielle Little, director of the 78th Communications Directorate, described this evolution as a culture shift.

“We are re-imagining work spaces to support an increase in telework and collaborative spaces,” she said. “This past year has truly tested our resiliency in performing our missions. Our team is working to transform Robins into the Air Force Model for Mission Partner and Community Integration.”

The mission will be accomplished through eight lines of effort:

- Visual/Virtual Presence

- Workplace Environment

- Digital Content/Processes

- Digital Tools/Training

- Virtual Training Unified Communication

- ABW Cyber Systems Oversight

- Community Partnerships

April’s Robins Proud focused on three of the eight lines of effort: workplace environment, digital tools/training and community partnerships.

According to Little, 3,500 base employees continue to telework to date. However, at the onset of the pandemic, more than 10,000 people worked from home.

“The virus forced us to transform and adapt to new technologies. This required educating our workforce on new and existing capabilities that could be used during telework,” said Tekquell Watson, 78th Communications Directorate Special Missions division chief. “Our Knowledge Management office formulated an education campaign to maximize exposure of available digital technologies. Throughout the current digital transformation, we have been able to expand knowledge and educate use of technologies to include: SharePoint, Microsoft Teams/CVR and Robotic Process Automation.”

Watson said the digital transformation at Robins has been successful in continued mission readiness. 

“Our office stands ready to assist you as your organization explores tools to enhance and improve team collaboration and efficiencies,” she added.

Even with the necessity of teleworking, plans are being created for the new way of working in the office.

That concept is called hoteling. 

“Together we will determine the right balance between hoteling, traditional spaces and other collaborative spaces needed to result in high-octane space utilization,” said Larry Allen, 78th Civil Engineer Group Space Allocations lead. “To accomplish hoteling, this may require detailed scheduling so that there is enough workspace for each employee coming in on a workday.”

This new work environment means employees will no longer have dedicated cubicles. If an in-office visit were to be needed, employees would set up their laptops at an available docking station.

Allen said the changes would also meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements as well, keeping in mind the need for proper sanitizing of large group work areas.

Not only are teams at Robins improving the installation’s digital enterprise within its gates, they are looking to the local communities to help forge its future.

Melony Bagwell, 78th ABW Strategic Initiatives chief, said the future of the base’s workforce begins now by forging partnerships with up and coming professionals at area colleges and universities.

Most recently, in November, installation leaders signed an Educational Partnership Agreement with Fort Valley State University.

“We have many ongoing and future initiatives across the installation and outside the fence line with business, industry and educational institutions. We have ten signed EPAs, and we are looking to expand the number in the future,” said Bagwell. “We have three team members who are ambassadors to local universities and who actively participate in activities with those institutions.”

Recently, 25 base employees volunteered to attend a networking and employment seminar for computer science majors at FVSU.

Those professionals provided insight on Robins’ missions and recommended courses for students to consider while still in college, as well as provided advice for landing a federal job in their field of study.

"STEM outreach and educational partnerships are at the forefront to ensure we continue to grow the STEM pipeline across Middle Georgia and create excitement around STEM that will bring the right talent at the right time,” said Bagwell.

Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Labrador, Robins Installation Command Chief, said the virus helped propel the base to work more effectively and efficiently.

“A lot of what was discussed was in the context of COVID-19 and how we were able to work our way through the pandemic,” he said. “Hopefully, you can see the big picture in these lines of effort. This will help in our power projection platform that we are continuing to provide the capabilities to protect our national defense. And from that perspective, it makes us just that much more proud to be a part of Team Robins.”