AFSO21 - Working Smarter, Not Harder

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
By now, most of you have heard of "Air Force Smart Operations 21" (AFSO21), the Air Force-wide initiative to develop leaner, more efficient processes that will save money and time for our organizations. In a nutshell, AFSO21 is all about working smarter not harder. Why is AFSO21 being emphasized--it's because the Air Force is getting much smaller, without losing any of our mission. With the Air Force shrinking by 40,000 people over the next 3 years, it's absolutely essential that we figure out how to get the mission done more efficiently. If we don't, we'll end up either falling short of our mission or overworking our people. I think you'll agree neither alternative is acceptable.

So where do we need to focus our AFSO21 efforts here at Sheppard? I think a good place to start is to examine our share of the Air Force's 40,000 personnel reduction. In the 82d Training Wing, we have lost or will be losing approximately 579 active duty and civilian positions over the next 3-4 years. Many of these "PBD 720" cuts have already taken place or will take place during the next 12 months.

One approach to these cuts is to shift the workload and responsibilities to our remaining people--in order words, "do more with less." I don't buy that approach and neither does our Air Force. None of us should allow the PBD 720 reductions to be taken on the backs of our people.

Instead, here at Sheppard, we've chartered a PBD 720 AFSO21 Team to look at ways to do business more efficiently so we can implement these cuts without losing mission or overworking people. The team, led by Doug Bogenrief from our Manpower office and Maj Greg Smith from Training Operations, will be leading the effort to identify ways to get the job done despite the cutbacks. Our squadrons and groups have already identified ways to work around many of the manpower cuts. The team will focus on the reductions we need to tackle at the wing level. They'll have to recommend a process change, an organizational change, or an input to HHQ saying we can no longer perform this function without help from above.

The team has already broken down our reductions into several categories--personnel, information managers, course writers, instructors/training staff, commander's support staff, and medical. They will establish sub-teams to look at each of these areas to make recommendations on how we can smartly and efficiently implement the cuts.

Using AFSO21 principles, I'm convinced we can get the mission done smarter and more efficiently. And that's because we're blessed with some very smart people, people who we empower to tell us how to get our mission done more efficiently.

As part of this effort, I challenge all of you to work "smarter, not harder" and constantly be on the lookout for those little-value-added activities that we need to eliminate. Look for those wasteful processes that could be easily streamlined. We've got a smart Air Force--let's get those brains engaged and put AFSO21 into practice here at Sheppard.