JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Members of the 305th Air Mobility Wing leadership recently instituted The Office of Innovation and Efficiency here.
The function of the new office is to educate, train, encourage and assist airmen to not only survive in the difficult times ahead, but excel said Col. Rick Williamson, 305th AMW commander, in a letter to the wing.
The office’s three main areas of focus are shaping the culture of the Air Force, Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO21) and fuel efficiency. Shifting the Air Force culture involves an organizational transformation. The intent of AFSO21 is to improve operations by simplifying in-place processes, or by creating new ones. It also aims to generate efficiency and improve combat capability. Fuel efficiency is essentially any way the Air Force can save fuel.
“AFSO21 is definitely here to stay,” said Maj. Tom Klusek, OIE chief. “But the question has always been ‘how do I get people to want to use these tools and make a change?’ Until there is a complete paradigm shift in military thinking, this office will serve as a way to bridge that gap.”
The office is in the process of developing courses and programs to educate willing airmen on ways to spark innovation in their work stations.
“My hope for this office is to bring more visibility for the AFSO21 program and a heightened urgency for process improvement,” said Master Sgt. Randolph Pembleton, 305th AMW AFSO21 process manager. “In my experience, people want to improve their daily processes; they just don't know how to get started. I expect the office will provide that missing link and assist each unit to meet their goals through experienced consultation.”
The current fiscal situation has increased the need for careful spending. The current price for JP8, the jet fuel used by all Air Force aircraft, is around 56 cents per pound. An aircraft like the C-17 Globemaster III can carry 235,000 pounds of fuel at a time but requires only 100,000 for a local mission.
“I took this job because I saw an opportunity for our wing to do things better,” said Maj. Andy Bowers, OIE fuel efficiency officer. “If we are being asked to execute the same amount of missions but with fewer resources, we’ll have to be smarter about it; that includes being smarter with our fuel.”
Filling an aircraft with an excess of gas or improperly distributing the weight of cargo can cause undue gas usage. The office looks to young airmen who have fresh eyes on day-to-day operations and can notice potential pitfalls more readily.
“Our job in this office isn’t to generate ideas, but to facilitate the ideas of Airmen who are out there doing the job,” said Bowers. “We’re here as a venue for those great ideas to get wing commander approval.”
Airmen can work through their chains of command or go directly to the office with an idea.
“We aren’t looking for the perfect answer to a problem, just a better one,” said Bowers. “Hopefully the ideas generated here will exist until a better idea comes along.”
Call 754-0800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to submit an idea.