One month into leading the more than 43,000-strong workforce of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland is intent on evolving the same priorities that have guided the Center in delivering combat power for America since AFSC’s inception.
Priorities built on providing expert logistics and sustainment support while taking care of Airmen are the result of the complex mission of the Center and its importance in the nation’s state of readiness.
“We cannot meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy without the readiness the professionals of this Center deliver,” Kirkland said. “Given the scale of operations and unique capabilities of this Center, our people, organizations and installations are nothing less than national resources.”
The experience, skill, patriotism, and dedication of both the civilian and military workforce make it uniquely valuable, he said. “We will continue to build on the integration of the top-notch teams of Airmen at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; Robins Air Force Base, Ga.; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; and Scott Air Force Base, Ill., that have proven the Center’s excellence.”
The playbook for achieving the center’s goals will not change, either. “Art of the Possible is our culture and this is how we are going to do business,” Kirkland said. “All work is a process, whether we are talking about the depot mission, the supply chain, or the air base wings, which are our power projection platforms. Each of these missions is crucial.” Kirkland also emphasized he will focus on the effectiveness of depot production and supply chain management, as well as the security of AFSC’s bases.
Kirkland also recognizes the contribution of the tenant unit mission partners at each AFSC location. “Our efforts are interconnected and our end game – the defense of our nation – is identical,” he said.
As the only AFSC leader who has been both an air logistics complex commander and air base wing commander, Kirkland has a unique perspective on the challenges facing the Air Force logistics and sustainment community and its installation support.
“Aging infrastructure, installation security, workforce development – these are all topics we will continually address because, while it’s about readiness, it is also about supporting our wingmen, keeping them safe and prepared for their jobs,” Kirkland said.
Partnering with the local education community to provide opportunities for both new and existing employees is key to creating a trained and viable workforce so that AFSC can continue the growth of the center’s workload, he said.
Workforce development is one priority the general holds as a father as well as a commander. The Kirkland children, who are in their 20s, are both Air Force civilians outside of AFSC and the general’s wife, Judy, is a long-standing volunteer who contributes her time to agencies that deliver direct support to Airmen and their families.
Airman support is a commander priority Kirkland takes seriously. “We all must have zero tolerance for actions that fall outside of AFSC’s culture of dignity and respect,” Kirkland said. “Things such as sexual harassment and assault and equal opportunity violations diminish our fellow Airmen and cannot be tolerated.”
The AFSC embraces the wingman culture and strives to model the Air Force core values.
“I am so proud to be back and part of this team,” Kirkland said. “Our Air Force counts on the mission readiness AFSC Center delivers; I am confident our Center is up to the task.”