AFMC commander tells senior leaders to conserve resources, money

  • Published
  • By Ron Fry
  • Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs
Earth Day 2010 took on a special meaning for some 90 Air Force Materiel Command senior leaders here April 22.

AFMC Commander Gen. Donald Hoffman took advantage of the command's semi-annual Senior Leaders Conference kicking off on Earth Day to highlight the importance of the command's resource conservation efforts. Presentations on energy use highlighted the three-day conference where leaders also heard updates on several other important command issues.

But the Earth Day theme took center stage. General Hoffman reminded the command's leadership of a New England proverb that declares, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

The general added his own perspective on energy use and conserving the Earth's resources. "The world is like a terrarium, it's a confined environment," he said. "We have to ensure that the input and output to that environment stays balanced."

General Hoffman reminded leaders that resources such as electricity and fuel are not the only resources they should keep a conservative eye on -- money is an ever-dwindling resource.

"Our budgets are not a growth industry," General Hoffman told his headquarters staff, center and wing commanders and command chief master sergeants. "We have to live within our means. Do it smartly and avoid holding on to things we really don't need."

Tim Bridges, director of Communications, Installations and Mission Support at Headquarters AFMC, updated the conferees on several command energy conservation initiatives and goals. He added that energy conservation results in a simple equation.

"Not only do we conserve energy, but we also save dollars," he said.

Leaders also heard about energy initiatives from outside the Air Force.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Kenneth Eikmann, who held several leadership positions within AFMC, is now a Senior Research Fellow for the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. He spoke about alternative fuel sources including research that's exploring algae as a source of fuel oil. He said it is critical to insert energy awareness into the everyday Air Force culture.

While leaders were encouraged to get back to basics in energy use and spending, AFMC Command Chief Master Sgt. Eric Jaren, called for a back to basics approach in the way AFMC leaders manage their people and the way those people approach their duties.

"We need to get back to basics and put some 'old school' philosophy into our day-to-day routines," the chief said. General Hoffman agreed and asked for the development of a back to basics plan for not only the command's enlisted force, but officers and civilians, too.

Other topics covered at the conference included suicide trends and prevention initiatives, the upcoming conversion from the National Security Personnel System to the former General Schedule pay system for civilian employees, in-sourcing of some command workloads, acquisition officer development and civilian leadership development.

To show the command's emphasis on physical fitness, all conference attendees participated in running and/or kayaking events.

A special presentation by former Air Force Historian Dr. Richard Hallion focused on present-day perceptions about the Air Force. He warned that the ground wars of Iraq and Afghanistan have driven some critics to question the contributions of the Air Force.

He called for leaders to step up their efforts to educate the public, Congress, media and industry about the successes and contributions of air, space and cyber power.