AFSC goals lay foundation for success Published Oct. 26, 2012 By Micah Garbarino Tinker Public Affairs TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Since taking flight on July 10, the Air Force Sustainment Center hasn't been on auto-pilot. The center, which incorporates a total of eight wings, including three air logistics complexes, stood up in July and has been working toward the art of the possible and establishing goals for its current and future missions. Tinker Public Affairs sat down with Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, AFSC commander, to discuss the organization's five main goals, each of which is important for establishing sustained success across the center. Goal No. 1: Continue to strengthen sustainment processes and accountability for the nuclear enterprise. It's no state secret that from bombers and guided missiles, to hardened bunkers and inter-continental ballistic missiles, the Air Force shoulders a large portion of America's nuclear triad. Not everyone in AFSC may touch nuclear weapons related materiel in their day-to-day jobs. However, the center does provide maintenance, repair and overhaul to nuclear assets and the Air Force as a whole cannot afford nuclear enterprise accountability to be anything other than the No. 1 priority. "Within the sustainment center, we have a large piece of that (mission)," he said."Through supply chain tracking, maintenance operations and ultimately delivering to our customer, we've got to make sure we're perfect in that mission. Anything less is unacceptable." Goal No. 2: Enable an adaptable, resilient, professional and highly-skilled workforce and care for our people. With more than 33,000 military and civilian Airmen reporting to work every day, people are a resource that will not be overlooked -- they're the "strength of the sustainment center," General Litchfield said. "We have a responsibility as supervisors to make everyone who works for us successful. That means making sure they have the resources and the right training,hard skills and soft skills,to get the job done." Safety is another "fundamental" responsibility for supervisors and leaders. "Everyone has the right to realize that when they go home at the end of the day that they'll have all their fingers and toes and we won't do anything to damage their long-term health," the general said. Caring for people is really caring for each other -- something General Litchfield says he takes pride in as a member of the Air Force family. "The better we can take care of one another, the better we can help people get through the valleys of life. ... And, quite honestly, it's just the right thing to do." Goal 3: Become a reliable, agile and responsive organization General Litchfield explained there are three main priority areas in meeting this goal: No. 1 is to meet customer expectations. No. 2 is improving performance so "we don't have to worry" about the ability to meet expectations. No. 3 is achieving "art of the possible" result, which requires world-record performance levels. "If we're not meeting expectations, we've got to stop the bleeding and get up to a level where we're at least delivering what we promised, when we promised it," General Litchfield said. "Right now we have too many systems not meeting expectations and we have to get things back on track." Goal 4: Optimize infrastructure and reduce energy consumption while exceeding mission requirements. American energy independence is a hot-button issue. Prices are up and homeowners and businesses across the country are looking to cut energy costs by installing efficient appliances, beefing up insulation and using energy during off-peak hours. To be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, the AFSC, collectively the Air Force's largest energy consumer, must look to cut energy costs as well, General Litchfield said. "We have to find ways to reduce energy. We're not only helping our nation become self-sufficient, we're also reducing the cost of what it takes to produce our product," the general said . From simple fixes like turning off lights and adjusting thermostats, to more complex looks at making every process "energy-conscious," everyone has to find ways during the next year to save energy costs. "It's just a good thing to do for America in terms of energy independence," he said. Besides energy consumption, this large and geographically-seperated organization must optimize their infrastructure in order to best meet the needs of the mission. "We find that maybe our infrastructure, the space, is not being used in the smartest way and we're not bringing in all the capability and capacity that we may have the space available for," he said.Not only in terms of tools and people, but also in terms of the facilities that make up our three sustainment bases." Goal 5: Improve cost effectiveness by maximizing a continuous process improvement mindset. AFSC is a $16 billion operation, which is a "big chunk" of the Air Force budget. Trimming the fat from every day processes is essential to maintaining readiness for the Air Force. "The way I look at things, and I think our Secretary of the Air Force and our Chief of Staff have defined things, is that readiness is key to our Air Force," General Litchfield said. "We're going to be smaller, but we're going to be a ready force. The more that we can do to reduce the cost of readiness will help determine the size of the force that we can afford. The size of the force that we can afford will, in large ways, determine whether we can fight and win the next war." Everyone in the AFSC has to take a hard look at their processes to look for performance improvements. The general equated it to the American swimmers' performances at the London Olympics. Even though the team had broken world records four years ago in the Australia Olympic Games using competitive swimming suits that were "too buoyant," no one thought they would be able to repeat their performance. But in London they improved upon their performance and posted new world records. The general went on to explain that he wants AFSC to be the best across the full spectrum of our operations, whether it's maintenance, supply, administration, air base wing activities, not only in the Department of Defense, but in the world. "Were going to use continuous process improvement techniques to get those results, and it's really going to help our Air Force." Organizational pride The general takes great pride in his job as the AFSC commander and the people who accomplish their mission for the Air Force. He wants everyone to be able to have the same pride and strive for greater success. "Make sure that you look at what you did yesterday and make it better today,and think about how you can make it better tomorrow," General Litchfield said. "Most importantly, remember that in the sustainment center it's always a great day to fly."