Airmen: The foundation of Air Force weapon systems

  • Published
  • By Derek Kaufman
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- How do you build an Air Force organization responsible for the acquisition and support of all aircraft, engines, munitions, and electronic/cyber systems? You start with the people, of course.

That’s the message the commander of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, or AFLCMC, is conveying, both to his workforce and to the talented men and women seeking a new and challenging career that helps defend America in the air, space and cyberspace.

Lt. Gen. C. D. Moore has commanded AFLCMC since its standup in July 2012. The diverse civilian and military workforce of about 26,000 includes engineers, program managers, contracting professionals, logisticians, financial analysts and many other disciplines. They are charged with developing everything from Air Force uniforms and personal survival gear to software and the next generation of combat aircraft while supporting these product lines throughout their entire life cycle.

“We talk a lot about organizational structure, process, clear lines of authority, and accountability," Moore said. "All of these things are vitally important. But, here is the bottom line: without AFLCMC people fulfilling their mission, the Air Force does not fly, fight, and win.” 

It’s not surprising that Moore is a believer in what AFLCMC people are working to achieve: a single integrated organization focused on acquiring and supporting war-winning capabilities . . . from cradle to grave. His enthusiasm and energy for the mission is infectious. One only needs to ask him about the contributions of AFLCMC people, and he gets visibly animated. His mantra includes phrases like “speed with discipline,” “unity of purpose,” and “delivering to commitments.” 

The general said effective communication is central to AFLCMC success. His communication mix includes public Web, videos and social media. Leveraging social media, AFLCMC has developed a state-of-the-art introductory video entitled “Our Story,” which showcases the revolutionary mission and talented workforce of the center. The video is currently playing on YouTube and on the AFLCMC Facebook page. When his calendar permits, he goes on the road to both share his vision for AFLCMC and to seek feedback directly from the people who are making it happen.

“I thank them for what they do every day, providing the warfighter’s edge,” the general said. “The people are, without a doubt, our most precious resource, and we need their great ideas and feedback to take this organization to an even higher level of performance.”

In this uncertain budget environment, it isn’t easy to plan and execute complex, multimillion- or even billion-dollar programs, factoring in life cycle costs that may span decades. American warfighters want and deserve systems unmatched in their capabilities. Taxpayers expect investments that are affordable. The defense industry wants to protect the nation, operate profitably and strengthen the industrial base for the future. Small businesses want to share their ability to innovate and rapidly respond by partnering with government, academia and larger businesses.

Evolving requirements, such as growing demand for remotely piloted systems with new capabilities, or the cyber warfighting domain where rapidly changing threats compress the acquisition life cycle, demand unprecedented speed and innovative solutions, Moore added. 

These are all reasons why it is critical to continue to attract, develop and retain a high-quality workforce, one that is aligned to ever-changing Air Force priorities, according to Moore. The challenge is amplified when the trend for defense spending is clearly on a downward slope. 

“In short, we need to establish a new way of operating that is more agile, responsive and cost-effective as we align human capital to support the complex variety of programs under AFLCMC’s stewardship,” Moore said. He acknowledged that some positions will necessarily remain vacant while others are realigned to new acquisition and product support priorities.

The general also noted AFLCMC is working hard on its Strategic Resource Management Plan for 2014 with agile human capital management being the cornerstone.

“It’s no secret that the nation is facing growing budgetary pressures, and we must subsequently adjust how we manage our resources. Process standardization, unity of purpose and speed with discipline will remain the keys to delivering cost-effective solutions,” Moore said.  “But, the most important element of our continued success is our talented workforce.”