OC-ALC commander calls for lower costs from defense industry

Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Commander Brig. Gen. Tom Miller spoke to attendees at the 12th Annual Tinker and the Primes about the importance of industry, academia and government working together to find opportunities for improvement in parts supportability, a trained next general work force and cost effectiveness.

Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Commander Brig. Gen. Tom Miller spoke to attendees at the 12th Annual Tinker and the Primes about the importance of industry, academia and government working together to find opportunities for improvement in parts supportability, a trained next general work force and cost effectiveness. Collaboration and innovation in these areas will be able to provide better readiness and combat capabilities for the warfighter. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex commander recently asked defense industry representatives to help lower costs so that more money will be available to improve the readiness of nation’s combat air power.

Brig. Gen. Tom D. Miller spoke Aug. 23 at the 12th annual Tinker and the Primes Conference in Midwest City. More than 60 industry exhibitors, including Northrop Grumman and Rolls-Royce, participated in the three-day conference with more than 800 attendees from three countries and 33 states, according to the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce.

Miller said the Air Force Sustainment Center, with 43,000 personnel in 17 states and three maintenance logistics complexes, spends approximately $16 billion a year to keep aircraft, missiles and other weapon systems working and ready for combatant commanders worldwide. Reducing costs allows more of the budget to be spent on readiness, he said.

“One of the few places that the cost of readiness can radically change is at the enterprise level of logistics and sustainment,” Miller said. “If you’re a unit, if you’re in the field, you get the airplanes, the people and the missions you must fly and there is little ability to change the costs associated with that.

“The radical changes in cost reduction happen at the enterprise level here. It’s our responsibility to bend that cost curve, to keep that cost down so we can buy more readiness. There are people in the world that want to do us harm and from that aspect, how do we buy more readiness with the funds that we’re given by Congress? The way to do that is to collectively drive costs down.”

The AFSC has generated more than $2.4 billion in savings and cost avoidance since fiscal year 2013. Miller oversees nearly 10,000 military and civilian OC-ALC personnel in repairing, maintaining and overhauling aircraft that include B-1Bs, B-52s, KC-135s, E-3s and the Navy’s E-6, in addition to repair and overhaul of nine models of jet engines.

Miller said the OC-ALC’s newest workloads include the F135 engine that powers the state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning II strike fighter and preparing for the future 158-acre campus where a new fleet of KC-46A aerial refueling tankers will be maintained. 

The OC-ALC has immediate needs in parts supportability and hiring a “next-generation workforce,” Miller said.

 “It’s much harder for us to get a trained workforce than I would have thought before I got here,” Miller said. “There’s a high demand for people who are reliable, skilled and ready to produce.”

Col. Kenyon Bell, the base’s 72nd Air Base Wing commander, spoke to attendees about Tinker’s future development plans. They include airfield ramps, hangars, modernizing or replacing deteriorating buildings, a new air control tower and a commercial entry gate to ease traffic flow at base gates.

“What you need to know is that we’ve focused attention on maintaining and repairing our current infrastructure so that it will last us well into the future as we prepare ourselves for whatever missions might come,” he said.

Bell leads nearly 3,000 Airmen and directs a $311 million operating budget to support base tenants, including the AFSC headquarters, and the base’s more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel.

The Midwest City Chamber and Rose State College organized the conference.