Robins EW activities play major role in Lifecycle Management Group mission

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  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 78 ABW/PA
More taxpayer dollars are being invested in electronic warfare than ever before, and the EW Lifecycle Management Group, or LCMG, is working hard to help ensure this money is being spent intelligently and prudently.

The LCMG is a virtual organization led in part by the 542nd Combat Sustainment Group at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. Representatives from every major command belong to the group, which is responsible for supporting the Air Force's electronic warfare mission.

"The goal is to help the Air Force be more effective and efficient at running its electronic warfare programs," said Col. Stan VanderWerf, 542nd CBSG commander. "We have really made some headway, but we still have a long way to go. There is plenty of work still to do."

The group works diligently to ensure the Air Force is ready to defend against any EW threats--including securing the resources or funding needed. The group is also charged with enhancing efficiencies, reducing duplication and reducing lifecycle costs. But perhaps its biggest success since being chartered two years ago is developing stronger lines of communication between commands and units across the Air Force.

"An extensive amount of communication is going on between the MAJCOMS," VanderWerf said. "We've been very successful in communicating, and we now have better access to senior leadership. This has helped us be able to do some pretty amazing things in reasonable amounts of time."

Although Robins is just one of many LCMG participants, it plays a major role. Because of the preponderance of EW activity at Robins, the group's formation was spearheaded by previous Robins leaders. Now, VanderWerf is a co-chair on the LCMG's technical advisory group, the decision making body. Robins is also responsible for all group administrative functions, supported by Randy Bryant, a contract program analyst.

"We are aware of every key issue in electronic warfare," Bryant said. "We help vet those issues. Although it is an administrative function, we also help with technical issues."

When the LCMG was first chartered, the original focus was on solving materiel solutions. But over time, it became apparent that solutions were needed across a much larger spectrum.

"As we started peeling the onion back we realized that some of the issues would fall into more than one area, not just materiel," said Lt. Col. Gene McFalls, deputy director of the Technology Insertion office. "We're still trying to refine it and make it better. We're constantly trying to improve the organization as well as adjust the membership."

Although much of what the group does is classified, one example of a current LCMG project is the organization of the numerous databases that house countermeasure techniques so they can be more efficiently accessed by users. Not only will this save time and money, but will also ensure offices aren't duplicating efforts.

The LCMG has been successful in improving relationships across the Department of Defense.

"LCMG has gotten more involved with other military services," McFalls said. "We've worked with the Army and Navy on electronic warfare. Those branches face the same threats and deal with the same EW issues that the Air Force does."

If there were ever any doubts that the LCMG was necessary, those doubts have long since vanished.

"How do the Air Force professionals in electronic warfare feel about the LCMG? Everyone wants it. Everybody supports it," VanderWerf said. "We don't always agree on everything, but nobody is arguing about whether or not we had a need for this. They are instead talking about how to enhance it."

At the request of the Air Force chief of staff, the group contributed to the development of an "electronic warfare roadmap" that lays out a plan of action for EW for the next two decades. The document will be presented to the chief of staff Tuesday.