AFMC vice commanders addresses Aerospace Summit crowd

Tinker Air Force Base --      For America to ultimately prevail in the Global War on Terror, the Air Force must attack the way it conducts its everyday business with the same synergy that gives it its air superiority on the battlefield.
     That's the message Lt. Gen. Terry Gabreski, Air Force Materiel Command vice commander, drove home during her keynote address at the Oklahoma Aerospace Summit and Expo in Oklahoma City, Wednesday (May 23).
     The general spoke about today's Air Force environment, the Global War on Terror and preparing for tomorrow's challenges.
     "The Global War on Terror is a battle in a very long war," the general said. "This enemy that we are engaged with today is committed to this fight in what he sees as a 100-year war."
     Gen. Gabreski said the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City were battles in this war. "We can trace the beginning of this war back to events like the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983," she said.
     To win the war the general said the Air Force must face several challenges including rising costs, lower funding, instability of fuel prices and an aging fleet.
     "One of the tough decisions we've had to make is how are we going to get things done effectively," the general said.
     Gen. Gabreski said the answer is Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, or AFSO21, a process improvement tactic.
     Through continuous process improvements, which also include Lean and Six Sigma, the Air Force has a "broad and solid foundation for the direction we need to go," the general said.
     To get the maximum value from the process improvement principles, the Air Force is utilizing four key principles: focus of value-added work; harness enterprise efficiencies and technologies; teamwork; and standard work throughout Air Force installations.
     "We can't afford to stand still to fight today's war much less be ready to fight the potential adversaries that are out there on the horizon," the general said. "So we have to do things such as focusing, maintainability, integrate solutions, but probably the most important is we have to continue to develop our people.
     "In the end, people are the only things that don't lose value; they continue to appreciate."
     The general concluded her keynote address by reacting to a quote once spoken by Gen. Ronald Fogleman, former Air Force Chief of Staff, "Air superiority is not a God-given right of Americans."
     In response, Gen. Gabreski said, "Gen. Fogleman's quote is right on, (air superiority) isn't a God-given right, it doesn't happen because we wish it would, it happens because we're the best Air Force on the planet and because we plan for tomorrow while we're doing the mission today."