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Incirlik leaning toward future with AFSO21

Staff Sgt. Raja Beckles (left) and Tech. Sgt. Chad Steele inventory items at the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, on Wednesday, June 21. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson)

Staff Sgt. Raja Beckles (left) and Tech. Sgt. Chad Steele inventory items at the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, on Wednesday, June 21. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- In the Honorable Michael W. Wynne's, Secretary of the Air Force, December 2005 "Letter to Airmen," he talked about expanding lean concepts beyond just depot operations. That effort grew into Air Force Smart Operations 21 (AFSO 21), a dedicated effort to maximize value and minimize waste in our operations.

Incirlik team members have taken those concepts to heart in the past year by completing 15 smart ops initiatives with an additional 29 planned in the near future.

"AFSO 21 is a leadership program for commanders and supervisors at all levels, looking at each process from beginning to end," said Sarah Freeman, Incirlik AFSO 21 project facilitator. "It doesn't just look at how we can do each task better, but asks the tougher and more important questions: 'Why are we doing it this way?,' 'Is each of the tasks relevant, productive and value added?' In other words, 'is it necessary at all?' With AFSO 21, we will march unnecessary work out the door -- forever."

AFSO 21 has evolved into the Air Force's dedicated effort to maximize value and minimize waste in all of the service's processes -- operational, support, and otherwise; to fully integrate continuous improvement into all we do across the Air Force. Members of the Tip of the Sword have put a lot of work into improving how we can lean our processes here.

"With AFSO 21 people have to ask themselves, 'What have I improved today?' and every idea is worth taking to your supervisor," said Lt. Col. Michael Platt, 39th Mission Support Group deputy commander and Incirlik AFSO 21 project officer. "The continuous process improvement of AFSO 21 is the new culture of our Air Force and Incirlik is leading the way."

Some of the objectives include: providing a standard Air Force approach to continuously improve all processes, developing a culture which promotes elimination of waste, sharing of best practices, and involvement of all Airmen in the relentless pursuit of excellence and continuously learning new ways to improve processes in order to save resources and eliminate waste. Some of the ways the Incirlik community has met these objectives are:

Incirlik Now: This initiative was started by the 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office to transform their print newspaper from 16 to four pages while creating an online format. The online format saves countless hours of print layout and brings the news and command-directed messages to every Airman's fingertips.

Medical Right Start: This initiative was started by the 39th Medical Group and is targeted to make inprocessing on base a one-stop shop. Now during base inprocessing members will get their annual PHA right when they arrive, cutting down one extra trip to the clinic.

Streamlined Armory: This initiative was started by the 39th Security Forces Squadron to streamline the amount of time it takes to arm and disarm each shift. By moving priority and frequently checked out items to different spots throughout the armory, security forces members save more than an hour checking in and out their weapons at the beginning and end of their shifts.

Vehicle Merger: This initiative was started by the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron to move anything government vehicle-related to one area. From government flightline driver's licenses, to requesting transportation for a military event, base members no longer have to go to three different areas.

With these initiatives and many others like them, Airmen and commanders at Incirlik are recognizing the positive effects AFSO 21 is already having on the mission.

"The initiative we implemented in our section really makes everything a little bit simpler," said Senior Airman David Wood, 39th Maintenance Squadron AGE journeyman. "So our time can be utilized to the fullest degree possible."

"AFSO 21 signifies a shift in our thinking," said Col. "Tip" Stinnette, 39th Air Base Wing commander. "It is centered on processes (groups of tasks) rather than tasks alone, which allows us to gain insight into the value, or lack of value, in each task we perform. I am very proud of the processes our Incirlik team has already implemented and I look forward to completing the future tasks we have planned."

As Incirlik continues to move toward the future, team members are encouraged to continue leaning processes for the next generation of Airmen.

"AFSO 21 is built on successful principles from the corporate world, and has already yielded results in the Air Force," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffery Antwine, 39th ABW command chief master sergeant. "AFSO 21 is not about cost cutting; it enables our service to take our warfighters of today and grow them into the most effective and efficient thinkers for 2010 and beyond."

If Incirlik people have an AFSO 21 process they think would improve their mission they are encouraged to call 676-8289 or logon to the Incirlik AFSO 21 Web site http://www.incirlik.af.mil/library/incirlikafso21.asp and e-mail Mrs. Freeman or Rachel Arndt.