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AFSO 21 driven by Airmen ingenuity

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN) -- Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century took another step forward at Headquarters Air Mobility Command in October. 

A mobility air forces strategy team of nearly two dozen military and civilian subject matter experts identified a number of overarching processes that could be streamlined.

AFSO 21 helps shape change in the Air Force by reducing waste in, and adding value to, its business processes. AFSO 21 allows those within an enterprise to "create a force structure without buying it," said Lt. Gen. Christopher A. Kelly, AMC vice commander.

One of the items reviewed was the deployment and distribution chain, or DDC. The process begins when a valid request is received to move cargo or passengers, and ends when the materials or passengers are delivered at their requested destination. The think tank designed the value stream map, which is considered "the framework from which all other AFSO 21 (DDC) projects can be hung," said Brig. Gen. Darren W. McDew, 18th Air Force vice commander and the team's leader.

Now, AMC wings and units will be able to help transform a number of individual DDC processes.

"The waste will be cut out of the system, whether it's done by the aircrews, logisticians or maintainers. All of the work they do will help get the box (cargo and passengers) from point A to point B quicker and more efficiently," said Col. Matthew Arens, chief of AFSO 21 for AMC.

"The ingenuity will happen in the field," said General McDew. He noted that while the headquarters is responsible for providing guidance and overall goals, it relies on Airmen on the ground and in the air to help create changes that will best revolutionize DDC operations at their locations and help the command meet its improvement targets.

Among AMC's goals are to decrease the total number of flow days (the time it takes cargo and passengers to move through the system) and lead time (the total time it takes between receiving and completing a movement request) by 30 percent, and increasing the "on-time" delivery of cargo and passengers to their final destinations by half.

To make some of these new initiatives happen, AFSO 21 "quick wins" are already being implemented in the field. One change is to reduce ground times by 30 minutes and another is to reduce the alert time based on the airfield capabilities, which determines how fast a plane can be "turned."

Other changes will take time to research and may require changes to regulations and instructions before they can be put into practice.

"When you get to change systems that have been in place for 30 years, it is pretty awesome. This is what AFSO 21 is all about," said Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, AMC commander.

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