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AFSO 21: Achieving a smarter staffing process

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNEWS) -- Getting better and faster answers for decision makers was the goal for a team from Headquarters Air Force Space Command and the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., which met here for an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century Rapid Improvement Event Jan. 22 to 25.

Led by Lt. Col. Corey Keppler, AFSPC's deputy director of staff, the team, comprising of approximately 15 people, looked at ways to improve the tasking process at headquarters and across the command.

The tasking process is one way headquarters staff members obtain information to make decisions and respond to requests from other organizations.

"We're trying to shave time off the process," Colonel Keppler said. "If you get the tasker faster to the action officer who is going to have the answer, then you get the answer faster." And the answers can help Air Force and AFSPC senior leaders make better decisions.

"The intent is to promote timeliness with no loss in quality," said Maj. Gen. David Frostman, AFSPC's mobilization assistant to the commander and AFSPC's AFSO 21 program champion. General Frostman said similar AFSO 21 efforts are going on throughout the command.

AFSO 21 is an Air Force initiative that challenges people to look at ways to accomplish the Air Force mission more effectively and efficiently while maintaining quality and safety standards.

"When we talk about AFSO 21, thinking outside the box should be the norm. We must constantly look at ways to save precious dollars, manpower and time resources," said Col. Alvin Kemmet, AFSPC's director of staff and the Rapid Improvement Event process owner.

Colonel Keppler said the AFSPC team recommended providing taskers to action officers at the earliest opportunity and giving them more accountability throughout the tasking process.

Other recommendations included transitioning from sequential to parallel staffing and promoting reductions in rework of content and format. Sequential staffing moves information one person at a time, while parallel staffing means staff members receive information simultaneously.

"All of these changes have the potential to reduce process time as much as 75 percent," said Lt. Col. Thomas Peppard, the AFSPC AFSO 21 office chief.

A campaign to explain the recommended changes to the staffing process will start in February with briefings at HQ AFSPC, numbered air force and center staffs.

Full implementation of a pilot program will begin March 1. The pilot program will look at measuring time savings and identifying areas for improvement.

"The pilot program will be the key to success of AFSO 21," said General Frostman.

AFSPC leaders stress that continuous process improvement is a team effort by everyone in the command.

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