Unit Spotlight: Staff of less than 20 manages OC-ALC/YP

Members of the Director of Propulsion discuss the engine needs of their customers who are in all major commands.  Clockwise from left are; 1st Lt.  Jeremy Evert, Michael Thomas, Janice Eberhard, Georgia Washington, Bob Bondaruk, Vanessa Barkus, and Mickey Conklin. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

Members of the Director of Propulsion discuss the engine needs of their customers who are in all major commands. Clockwise from left are; 1st Lt. Jeremy Evert, Michael Thomas, Janice Eberhard, Georgia Washington, Bob Bondaruk, Vanessa Barkus, and Mickey Conklin. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

Georgia Washington, staff director, and 1st Lt. Jeremy Evert, system engineer, discuss an upcoming customer service visit to Pacific Air Force. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

Georgia Washington, staff director, and 1st Lt. Jeremy Evert, system engineer, discuss an upcoming customer service visit to Pacific Air Force. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

Janice Everhard, analyst, crunches numbers for 2008 spare engine stock levels. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

Janice Everhard, analyst, crunches numbers for 2008 spare engine stock levels. (Air Force photo by Kelly Sharp)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- Only 18 people work in one of the most important units in the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center. Ultimately, the unit is part of a larger group that spreads across three Air Force centers.
   Collectively, they're the Propulsion group. At Tinker, they're known at the OC-ALC/YP.
   "Our objective is to develop new and modified turbine engine capabilities to meet the needs of the warfighters," said Lt. Col. Jack Cooley, OC-ALC/YP deputy director. "You can't fly aircraft without them."
   Today's propulsion team has about 4,500 military and civilian personnel at the OC-ALC, Wright-Patterson AFB and Lockheed Kelly Aviation Center in San Antonio.
   The budget for the entire group hovers more than $2.8 million, while the OC-ALC/YP's budget holds steady at $580,000 annually.
   The entire team is overseen by the OC-ALC/YP director.
   The director of Propulsion's role within the OC-ALC/YP is to develop, deploy policy, guidance processes and coordinate propulsion activities for organizations with execution responsibilities for Air Force aircraft and missile turbine engine acquisitions, sustainment, test and research and development tasks.
   In 1993, the Propulsion Integrated Weapons Systems Management Implementation Plan created the Propulsion Program Group Manager. The plan made the PPGM the single manager for accomplishments of all the propulsion management tasks. The responsibilities included overseeing the acquisition program and sustainment activities. They also advocated for propulsion program resources and interfaced with other agencies. The Air Force Materiel Command wing structure shifted execution responsibility from PPGM to group propulsion single managers.
   In recent months, the OC-ALC/YP has endured several changes. Most notably, the group gained new a Director and Deputy of Propulsion, Scott Reynolds and Lt. Col. Cooley. The organization office symbol was also changed to YP from LR within the past year.
   Despite the changes, the OC-ALC/YP's small group still excels at every duty-oriented task.
   "We work to make engines safer, more reliable, available, affordable and easier to maintain," the colonel said. "Our efforts are aimed at increasing the engine time on wing and decreasing unscheduled engine removals."
   To meet the mission, the DoP works with many major commands outside of AFMC including Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command.
   "ACC and AMC are the lead commands for engines and is our primary user linkage, but we also maintain relations with all of the major commands, to include having a YP representative at United States Air Forces in Europe," the colonel said.
   Among the DoP's duties is managing the Propulsion Business Area contract. The PBA contract, which is in ninth year of 15, provides repair services for the F100, T56 and T39 propulsion programs.
   "It's the largest single competitively awarded repair and overhaul effort in Air Force history," Col. Cooley said. "A comprehensive review at the end of year eight showed excellent ratings in the areas of product quality, production on schedule, affordability, small business support and management responsiveness to the needs of the program offices and stakeholders."
   The OC-ALC/YP has achieved several other noteworthy feats in addition to maintaining the PBA contract.
   "We've accomplished continuous improvements in flight safety performances of Air Force propulsion systems," said Col. Cooley. "We've maximized capabilities and minimized costs on existing and new engines."
   Yet, reward does not come without strife and the group faces continual challenges, which include the changing roles and responsibilities of the Propulsion director and single managers. Other challenges include streamlining non-AFMC standard processes driven by the PBA contract, which may cause inefficiencies at the depots and program offices. Plus, the group must accomplish the tasks without compromising the intent or integrity of the contract, the colonel said.
   While the group may not have a motto, the idea of what they do is clear.
   "We facilitate effective 'cradle to grave' management within the propulsion enterprise," the colonel said.