Secretary of the Air Force receives mission transformation, software innovation updates at Robins AFB

  • Published
  • By Shellie-Anne Espinosa
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall visited Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Aug. 30 to receive new mission updates and see some of the innovative advances being made with educational and industry partners, including Houston County Board of Education and the Development Authority of Houston County.

While at Robins, the secretary engaged with stakeholders and leadership on these key initiatives and how they fit into the larger Air Force picture.

“Throughout the Air Force, our teams are rising to meet the challenges of strategic competition across the globe,” Kendall said. “Robins is no exception, adjusting missions and finding innovative ways to utilize the intellectual capital of industry and academia in their region.” 

Part of that mission adjustment includes the divesture of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System fleet, a mission carried out by active duty service members of the 461st Air Control Wing, Air National Guard members of the 116th Air Control Wing and members of the Army’s 138th Military Intelligence Company, all stationed at Robins. The divestment is anticipated to be complete in fiscal year 2024.

This divestment makes way for new mission sets at Robins that better align with the future Air Force design to stay competitive with near peer adversaries.

“Team JSTARS’ expertise in Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance positions their members to help usher in the new era in Joint All-Domain Command and Control,” Kendall said.

Kendall also visited Project Synergy, a part of the 402nd Software Engineering Group within the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. The project began in March 2021 as a partnership between the WR-ALC, Houston County Board of Education, and the Development Authority of Houston County.

“What I witnessed today at Project Synergy is exactly what we are all working for across the Air Force,” Kendall said. “Capitalizing on industry and academia is what is going to help us not only keep pace with adversaries, but ensure we surpass them.”

The 43,000-square foot facility hosts a software lab, student classrooms and workspace for about 160 scientists and engineers from the 402nd SWEG. The partnership focuses on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math education – and building the future workforce in software engineering.

Joining Kendall on his tour was Lt. Gen. Stacey Hawkins, Air Force Sustainment Center commander, who took command earlier in August and made his first visit to Robins and the WR-ALC. AFSC is responsible for more than 40,000 Airmen working within three air logistics complexes – including the WR-ALC – three air base wings and two supply chain wings across the Air Force. 

“The WR-ALC is putting forth tremendous efforts in expanding aircraft software and maintenance capabilities for the Department of Defense,” Hawkins said.  

Hawkins went on to praise educational outreach at Robins, including Robins North, a regional partnership which combines higher education, training and real-world workplace operations in one location.

“The educational partnerships taking place at Robins, including Project Synergy, are paramount to accelerating the change we continue to strive for in national defense.  

“Seeing how WR-ALC and Robins are contributing to the Air Force Sustainment Center’s future assures me we’re on the right track,” Hawkins continued. “Robins continues to make strides in embracing the future.”