AFSO21 Think Tank

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lorraine Amaro
  • 552 ACW Public Affairs
On March 8, 2006, in a Letter to Airmen, Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne urged Airmen to ask themselves, "What have I improved today?"

Since then, Air Force Smart Operations 21 has taken off, bringing the biggest and smallest of ideas to the table to save our Air Force money and promote more efficient operations in the wake of Force Shaping.

The newest stage in the AFSO 21 process involved bringing facilitators and 552nd Air Control Wing commanders together to discuss and streamline the goals of the wing for the coming year. In addition, the facilitators work to ensure that the culture, organizational structures, investments, and other resources are aligned to institutionalize and promote continuous process improvement as a way of life for all Airmen.

"We would all rather be on the flightline with the Airmen, but it's important that we took this time to sort out the 'X, Y, Z' of our goals and what we need to do to get us there," said Brig. Gen. Lori J. Robinson, 552nd Air Control Wing commander. "For the long-term vision this was the right place to be."

During the two-day lockdown in the wing conference room, John Sadauskas, director of consulting services at Simpler Consulting Inc., who facilitated the meetings, along with General Robinson and commanders throughout the ACW, sat down to a no-holds-barred discussion on what they could do to improve America's Wing.

"It's crucial for wing leadership to be involved in these meeting because we are setting up strategic roadmaps for AFSO 21," said Mr. Sadauskas. "We took a look at all the processes in the wing and focused on where the areas of opportunity were for improvement."

Using the four main categories (Morale, Cost, Readiness and Quality), the commanders sifted through ideas such as the casual status of students at the training squadron, career development course rates and air expeditionary force rotations.

Having worked with bases such as Minot, Davis-Monthan and Langley, Mr. Sadaukas has seen many similarities pop up in the round table discussions.

"Many of the issues lie in having to do more with less," Mr. Sadauskas said. "If you can identify where the waste is in a process and eliminate it, you can potentially make better use of lower manning."

Commanders used business skills and drew from experience as they discussed the rhyme and reason of the ideas and debated the priority of each scenario.

"In a session like this it's important that you have involvement from all the team members," Mr. Sadauskas said. "That was certainly the case here and was able to help us put together a very good plan to make improvements here at Tinker."

Although the command level meetings are over, AFSO 21 is an on-going program and continues to look for grassroots ideas to improve the U.S. Air Force. If you have an idea you would like to submit to the program please contact Capt. Scott Gregg at 734-7851.