by Staff Sgt. Daylena Gonzalez Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

2/9/2009 – PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century is an Air Force initiative that challenges Airmen to look at all ways to accomplish the Air Force mission more effectively and efficiently without sacrificing quality.

In order to alleviate challenges from new and evolving mission requirements, financial constraints, and an aging force, Air Force Space Command Airmen have recognized the need to find and eliminate waste in every aspect of the mission.

“Applying AFSO 21 will eliminate work processes or steps in work processes not providing value to the Air Force mission, said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, AFSPC commander. “The focus or application of this program is not on the warfighter’s resources/supplies, but on the warfighter’s needs/demands.”

AFSPC is already enjoying the difference AFSO 21 has made. The 21st Space Wing’s program management and contracting functions developed a process that evaluates all aspects of a proposed contract and in-turn streamlines it into actual necessities. An example of this process at work is the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS) contract; by using this newly developed process, the contract was awarded an estimated $8.7 million below the original government estimate.

“Having such positive and plentiful results from the initial process test is rewarding,” said Mr. Rick Hughes, 21st Space Wing AFSO 21 chief. “Once this process is standardized and implemented across AFSPC, there is the potential to save tens of millions of dollars in contract costs.”

In a more patient-friendly and efficient way to do business, the 30th Space Wing Medical Group has introduced a referral management process that significantly improved their efficiency.

“The referral management AFSO 21 event made changes which significantly reduced the number of man hours spent to track and file consult reports in the paper medical records,” said Capt. Robert E. Traylor, resource management flight commander. “However, the most significant impact came in the realm of patient safety. Improved consult tracking increases continuity of care and in-turn delivers higher quality care to our beneficiaries.”

Any Airman can make a change that simplifies an existing program. The process improvement opportunities are endless.

“The importance is not losing momentum and striving for incremental improvements to increase mission effectiveness and reinforce culture change,” said Maj. Gen. David L. Frostman, mobilization assistant to the AFSPC commander.

Working smarter not harder is what the 460th Space Wing’s space-based infrared satellite network support workcenters have applied to their work day. The centers adjusted manning from 24/7 operations to a more efficient nine hour work day by cross-training crews and changing the remaining 15 hours to stand-by time. This made the cross-trained crews interchangeable, saving seven billets.

The examples above are proof that taking small steps can make a huge difference that saves precious time and resources.