Striving to be the Best

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Bruce A. Litchfield
  • Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Commander
Remember: I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!!! It was great to see all the flags and ceremonies honoring our heroes who have fought to keep us free and preserve the most precious rights for all Americans...Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Okie patriotic spirit came out in force with ceremonies, parades, and flags honoring the graves of our veterans. At the same time, I know there were many family celebrations and backyard cookouts to kick-off the summer season. From my perspective, this weekend could not be more perfect. We have a chance to honor the men and women who enabled the American dream, and we have a chance to live the dream with family and friends. What a great country!

Reorganization: We're in the final planning stretch for implementing the new Air Force Materiel Command organizational structure. As most of you already know, this will combine the respective depot, supply chain, and air base operations at Hill AFB, Warner Robins AFB, Scott AFB, and Tinker AFB into the Air Force Sustainment Center. In addition, all weapon system life cycle program management functions will integrate into the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. I've heard from a lot of folks who have been around the flag pole a few years that "this reorganization makes a lot of sense." I agree. Most reorganizations are done to solve a specific problem. This reorganization was done to combine "like" activities into "centers of excellence," while at the same time reducing manpower. The planning teams have done an amazing job working through all the details that must be complete before we execute. I'm confident that we'll be ready when we're given the green light to raise the flag. In fact, in many areas, we'll execute better under AFSC...on day one...than we can today. I also know there will be growing pains that we'll have to solve. That will take teamwork, cooperation, and communication from everyone. If you see something that needs fixing, tell your boss or send up a signal. We're all after the same goal: Generating Airpower, so we can win on the battlefield!

Art of the Possible: I hope by know you have heard the term "Art of the Possible." If not, let me take a moment to explain what it means. In most of our work centers, we produce what's expected. Art of the Possible changes the thinking from meeting expectations to "efficiently and effectively achieving our full potential." The bottom line of our mission is to Generate Airpower for the men and women in harm's way. The more effective and efficient we become, the more Airpower we can generate for available resources, the more capability we'll have in the field. Art of the Possible is not about working harder, cutting corners, or jeopardizing workplace safety. It's about understanding what is required to get the task done so as to minimize constraints that slow us down and cost us money. Around Tinker, we have demonstrated that Art of the Possible is a game-changing way of getting our mission done. We have saved hundreds of millions of dollars by increasing KC-135 throughput, developing a disciplined weapon system requirements process, implementing an engine repair network, accelerating AWACS modifications, improving engine and commodity production flow, focusing on software modifications, improving base support and security, and increasing our computer system up-time while reducing log-on time. All these improvements have the same characteristic...more output with the same, or less, resources, improved quality, and improved safety rates. By dramatically improving effectiveness and efficiency, we have also created capacity to take on more work. This provides security for Tinker at less cost for taxpayers.

So, in other words, Art of the Possible is about achieving our full potential. What does it mean for each member of the team? First and foremost, it means you can make a difference. Each and every day you come to work, I expect you to look at what we do and think about how to make it better. In some cases, it might be a small change like better information or common tasks. In other cases, it may be a whole different way to execute your job or support a weapon system. This is NOT authorization to deviate from approved procedures, but it is authorization to identify processes and procedures that are unnecessary constraints and/or can be vastly improved. You would be surprised at the problems we have eliminated that were once thought "too tough to tackle".
The bottom line: We have the opportunity to add more capability to our Air Force at less cost. We have the capacity to make our work place better. We have capability to increase quality and safety. We have a workforce that can achieve "The Art of the Possible"!