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AFSPC initiative destroys barriers to bolster Airmen innovation

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- In a move to encourage Airmen to come forward with innovative thinking, a new decision panel will allow Airmen at all levels within Air Force Space Command to present ideas that could enhance the mission, save time, increase customer satisfaction, save the Air Force money, or anything that can improve the way things are done within the Air Force.

The new AFSPC Shark Tank-like panel is a rapid process method used to review ideas from Airmen at command staff and wing levels.

“Our Airmen are the experts, this gives us an opportunity to hear directly from them,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, the AFSPC commander.

Any Airman wishing to present an idea should prepare a simple bullet background paper that includes the proposal title, summary of improvements and an actionable decision for AFSPC leadership to review. When the proposal receives a wing commander or equivalent endorsement, AFSPC will provide an opportunity to the Airmen to bring their proposals directly to AFSPC leadership.

“We’ve already hosted the first AFSPC Airman and her proposal has been a resounding success,” said Col. Charles Arnold, the Director of Manpower, Personnel and Services.

This Airman at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, has already shown how beneficial speaking directly with leadership can be. Capt. Jessica Jenkins, the 45th Space Wing Military Personnel Flight commander, and her team, saw a problem and realized there was a solution.

Patrick AFB had a long wait time, averaging 38 days, for getting appointments to receive their dependent identification cards. On the day of the appointment, people found themselves spending an entire day, if not more, waiting on their IDs. Missing or incorrect paperwork was often the culprit for the long waits.

Her team came up with the idea to develop an online renewal application process for dependent IDs that would ensure all necessary paperwork was completed. After completing the paperwork, the system would generate an appointment to pick up the ID cards.

Since being implemented at Patrick AFB, the renewal process has gone down to a one day wait time for appointments, and the entire process the day of the appointment now takes less than an hour.

When Jenkins presented the idea directly to Raymond, he invited her to go to the District of Columbia with him to present her idea, and its potential for implementation Air Force-wide, to Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. In addition, representatives from sister services and Defense Department agencies will meet later this fall to discuss broader implementations.

“The most important lesson from this experience is knowing we all have the potential to change the Air Force, no matter who you are, what you do, or what rank you hold,” Jenkins said.

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