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What AFSO 21 means

Dr. Ronald C. Ritter speaks to members of the Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Logistics Officers Association Jan. 10 about Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century. Dr. Ritter is the Air Force special assistant for AFSO 21.  He is helping Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and the Hawaii Air National Guard develop AFSO 21 initiatives.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Dr. Ronald C. Ritter speaks to members of the Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Logistics Officers Association Jan. 10 about Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century. Dr. Ritter is the Air Force special assistant for AFSO 21. He is helping Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and the Hawaii Air National Guard develop AFSO 21 initiatives. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Dr. Ronald C. Ritter speaks to members of the Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Logistics Officers Association Jan. 10 about Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century. Dr. Ritter is the Air Force special assistant for AFSO 21.  He is helping Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and the Hawaii Air National Guard develop AFSO 21 initiatives.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Dr. Ronald C. Ritter speaks to members of the Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Logistics Officers Association Jan. 10 about Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century. Dr. Ritter is the Air Force special assistant for AFSO 21. He is helping Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and the Hawaii Air National Guard develop AFSO 21 initiatives. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFNEWS) -- Dr. Ronald C. Ritter, the special assistant for Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, recently visited Pacific Air Forces headquarters to review AFSO 21 strategies in the command.

"AFSO 21 is important to us all," Dr. Ritter said. "It is our initiative and a way to continue our long tradition of improving the Air Force operational capability. (It) lets us think about all the different ways that we can use tools, technology, equipment and our people to run stronger operations in the Air Force."

The secretary of the Air Force is a strong proponent of AFSO 21.

"Like any other organization, we have to constantly give value to our customers. AFSO 21 signifies a shift in our thinking as to how to provide value," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne.

"It doesn't just look at how we can do each task better, but asks the tougher, more important question 'Why are we doing it this way?' 'Is each of the tasks relevant, productive and value added?' In other words, is it necessary? With AFSO 21, we will march unnecessary work out the door," the secretary said.

AFSO 21 is about combat capability, said Dr. Ritter. It achieves this by strengthening the Air Force with five program objectives: increasing the productivity of its most valued asset, its Airmen; significantly increasing critical equipment availability rates; improving response time and agility; sustainiing safe and reliable operations; and improving energy efficiency.

"If you are moving against any of those five dimensions -- productivity of people, aircraft equipment, response time, safety and energy efficiency -- you are driving the right direction," he said.

According to Dr. Ritter, Airmen have been doing this since there was an Air Force. The first Airmen got up over the fields of France during World War I and said, "How do I use airplanes better and faster?" He said that is what AFSO 21 is all about: looking at all Air Force operations and thinking of ways to do it better, faster, stronger and more capably.

"I believe we will do it because we have a history of doing it," he said. "This will not happen because Pentagon leadership says it's important. It will happen because you will do it.

"The action on this occurs in the field. There is an opportunity for everybody at the front line to engage on this and make it happen," he said.

AFSO 21 is centered on processes rather than tasks alone, so every Airman has a stake in it. Airmen should feel a sense of empowerment since no process is immune from this critical review.

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