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AF strengthens ties with community through partnership program

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force Community Partnership Program (AFCP), one of the 13 Make Every Dollar Count initiatives launched by the Air Force, is currently working with 51 installations and local communities to improve and strengthen community and Air Force partnerships.

The AFCP program offers opportunities to military installations and local communities to partner and achieve mutual value and benefit, such as reducing operating and service costs and achieving mutual economic goals and interests.

Since October 2012, the AFCP program has generated more than 1,000 initiatives with a potential value/benefit of approximately $160 million over the next five years. These partnerships are identifying new and innovative ways of supporting Airmen and their families. Current initiatives include medical, emergency response, grounds maintenance, shared use firing ranges, joint fire/police training, and operations of installation services.

“Partnering starts with committed Air Force and community leaders,” said Steve Zander, the AFCP program director. “The greatest results are achieved when installation and community leaders embrace the concept of partnering and use the Air Force’s well-structured process as a means to achieve mutual value and benefit.”

According to the AFCP program, there are many initiatives being conducted throughout the Air Force. Here are a few examples on ways the Air Force is helping to improve and strengthen bonds with the local community:

- Robins Air Force Base, Georgia: Medical leaders realized renewal certification training for medical and dental doctors was available at local community hospitals around Houston County, Georgia. Attending local training eliminated the need for military members to travel to other locations, resulting in cost savings of more than $434,000 for the Air Force and up to $2 million for the community.

- Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota: Leased underutilized facilities to a health care management firm with lease income equal to $635,000 in June 2015. Total rentable space comprised 21,521 square feet along with associated office equipment including desks, chairs, cubicles, tables, etc. This partnership will provide good-paying jobs in western South Dakota, income to offset base operating costs, and access to base services for the firm’s employees.

- Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida: Leadership recently signed a lease with a local medical center. The lease is for a one-year period and will enable the 325th Medical Group to provide primarily pediatric and Minute Clinic type care to patients at the center two days per week.

- Hill AFB, Utah: Established a satellite pharmacy in some underutilized space in the new base exchange. This increased the number of prescriptions filled, recapturing workload from the retail network pharmacies, and increased foot traffic and sales in the exchange facility. Over the past 13 months, the satellite pharmacy saved the Department of Defense and taxpayers an estimated $3.1 million in prescription costs. In a separate partnership, the community contributed to the cost of operating open house and air show events on Hill AFB. Throughout the course of the agreement, the Air Force received $548,000 in donated services, with the community realizing a $15 million economic impact when the open house/air show events took place.

In its third year, the AFCP program has matured in guiding installations and communities to identify partnership opportunities across the spectrum of installation services and mission support. Moving forward, the AFCP teams are now echoing senior Air Force leadership by talking about finding ways to leverage existing resources and capabilities of installations, state and local communities, and commercial entities for the mutual benefit of all involved parties.

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