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AFSO21 will help shape future of 50th SW

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century will be crucial to achieving the 50th Space Wing’s new vision, said Col. John Hyten, 50th SW commander.

“If someone asks you how we can do things smarter, tell them—AFSO21 gives us free reign to cut through red tape,” Col. John Hyten said at a wing vision discussion May 15. “With AFSO21, we can say, ‘If you waive us from these requirements, we can achieve savings and eliminate redundancy.’”

AFSO21 is an Air Force initiative to make units’ missions more effective by eliminating non-value-added work.

“It allows a clean-sheet approach,” said Col. Cal Hutto, who is the acting 50th SW commander during Colonel Hyten’s deployment. “We look at what it is we want to produce at the end of the day, and we ask ourselves: how we can produce it with better quality more efficiently?”

In some ways, Schriever AFB is already ahead of the curve.

“We’re always finding more efficient ways of doing business, but AFSO21 gives you ways of looking at processes,” Colonel Hutto said. “We’ve been doing it, but this is more of a deliberate process.”

The wing will bring new weapon systems online and maintain existing systems, even as its manpower and budget remain steady or decrease. Airmen must therefore continue to look for ways to trim unnecessary steps from their everyday processes, Colonel Hutto said.

“We are finding efficiencies today,” he said, “but as budgets get smaller and manpower stays the same or gets smaller, we have to find smarter ways of doing business and keeping the same combat capability.

“AFSO21 reaches to every corner of Schriever, from personnel to space operations to maintenance operations to just plain staff work,” he continued. “How can we do it better, faster and more efficiently?”

A wheel and tire shop at McChord AFB, Wash., set an example of what AFSO21 can do. The shop decreased its manpower from 14 people to five and achieved better results quickly by eliminating processes that did not add value to their final product.

While not formally part of AFSO21, the 50th Operations Group’s task-based training has improved both the efficiency and the effectiveness of training at Schriever, Colonel Hutto said. Airmen who receive task-based training become more proficient with the systems they operate in a shorter period of time compared to previous training methods.

“It’s a good example of how we’re finding more efficient processes now,” Colonel Hutto said. “But (AFSO21) can apply to many different things. It doesn’t matter where you are, or whether you’re a wing commander or an airman basic—you will see efficiencies at any level and say, ‘I know a better way of doing business.’ They know their job better than I do—and they know how they can make processes more efficient.”
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