78th CS, IT Directorate become 78th Communications and Information Group Oct. 1

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78th ABW/PA
The 78th Communications Squadron and the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center's Information Technology Directorate will soon join together to better serve customers' needs. The two organizations will informally stand up Oct. 1 as the 78th Communications and Information Group. The new organization as a whole will fall under the 78th Air Base Wing.

Front offices for the 78th CS and the WR-ALC/IT will remain in Bldg. 228, while workers in the two organizations will remain scattered throughout the base.

Carl Unholz, currently the director of the WR-ALC/IT Directorate, will become the group director when the two organizations join. Mr. Unholz said the group is awaiting Air Force approval on its official stand up.

The change is a big move for the two organizations.

"This restructure is one of the more significant changes that is taking place as part of (the Air Force Materiel Command's) center standardization effort. This has been something that has been worked and planned now for at least a year's time frame. We have taken steps to posture ourselves for the stand up of this group."

Mr. Unholz said the ground work for the merge was laid years before its birth.

In 2001, Robins began working on standing up the IT Directorate. The directorate was to fulfill mission needs outside of the 78th CS realm, such as investment management and applications.

Mr. Unholz said the two organizations envisioned merging in the future, but they had to find a way to show their customers that service would remain top notch.

Currently, IT directorates and communications squadrons are merging at all other AFMC bases as well, Mr. Unholz said.

"As IT and CS, the two had to always work together as a team and there was always a level of overlap," he said. "So merging allowed for better efficiency. The big reason though was Program Budget Decision 720 which eliminated 24 civilian positions within IT and a number of military positions being eliminated from the 78th CS, including a majority of leadership and officer positions."

Mr. Unholz said the two organizations had to merge in order to effectively manage both organizations.

While some may fear change, the organizations' leaders say in this case, change is good.

Lt. Col. Eric Ferguson, 78th CS commander, said the merge will help both organizations be in better touch with customers' needs.

"First and foremost, one of the things customers benefit from is for our common IT organization to have good situational awareness about what our customers' needs are and what we're doing internally to satisfy those needs," he said. "We've always worked very closely together, but now being in essentially the same organization, the same group, we'll actually be able to improve our communications flow and project tracking to the benefit of the customer in terms of making sure that we prioritize our resources and our time according to whatever the greatest need is."

Donna Mills, chief of the Business and Resources Division in WR-ALC/IT, said the merge will also help people in the two organizations to work together better.

"Right now, we are working hand-in-hand, but we do have two separate organizations," she said. "Now, we're merging together to pool those resources to fall under one management and we will be able to better see what the scope is across the whole (Air Logistics Center)."

Ms. Mills said combining the two organizations will allow their resource offices to better manage the Center's investments and infrastructure investments.

Despite all of the change, Mr. Unholz said outstanding service remains a top priority for the organization.