Preparing for peacetime readiness

  • Published
  • By Lt Gen Bruce A. Litchfield
  • Air Force Sustainment Center
Team Sustainment,

We are just six weeks into the new calendar year, but the pathway to success is already much clearer than it was for most of 2013.

The budget has passed and we pretty much know what to expect.

The Air Force Sustainment Center, like other organizations across the defense department, is transitioning from more than a decade of war to a peacetime readiness stance as we draw down our combat forces in Afghanistan.

Our troops overseas are still our top priority, but the magnitude of support needed is decreasing. So far, we've done an amazing job at this transition. We have delivered everything the Air Force has demanded and you should be proud of these accomplishments.

With our smaller budget and smaller workforce, we have to re-focus our efforts from effectiveness to cost-effective readiness. Last December we implemented an approach called the "Road to a Billion." The goal was to achieve $1B in savings or cost avoidance in the upcoming year. We have now reached the $900M mark and have changed the name to "Road to a Billion and Beyond." While there are many components to our approach, the unifying element we all share is to make improvements on a daily basis in our work centers. Using standard process improvement tools we have the ability to greatly increase output without additional resources, and without people working harder than they already are.

In essence we become a "better value" at delivering readiness for our Air Force. The better our value, the more work we can and will bring into our Center and the more opportunity we have at delivering more capability at less cost.

So why is it important to everyone? The answer is easy: the cost of our products is a significant factor in the size and capability of the force we can afford. The size and capability of the force will determine how we fight the next war.

It is our responsibility to ensure successive generations are ready to fly, fight and win! Bottom Line: what we do today will determine the future.

There is no bigger responsibility on our shoulders than ensuring our sons, daughters and grandchildren have the same dominant Air Force capability we enjoy today should they be called upon to defend our nation tomorrow.

Thanks for all you do.

Keep'em Flying,

Bruce A. Litchfield
Lieutenant General, USAF
Commander, Air Force Sustainment Center