'Every dollar counts' challenge

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Did you get the email from the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Larry O. Spencer, about Airmen Powered by Innovation? Check it out!

The Air Force is looking for Airmen of all ranks to find ways we can cut costs, and, as our Vice Chief says, "better fly, fight and win."

While finding cost-saving and innovative ways of doing things has been part of the Air Force ethos for years (i.e. the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, or AFSO21, initiative), the current fiscal climate has increased the focus on those efforts. Even though you may or may not find ways to save millions of dollars, even a few hundred dollars saved over time is worth the effort. A little here and a little there at each base can add up to significant savings for the Air Force as a whole.

Have you ever looked at a process and thought, "There's got to be a better way to do this," but didn't say anything because you were convinced that no change would be made because "that's the way we've always done it?" Now is your chance to share your ideas with confidence they will be heard and the ideas go straight to the top.

For 30 days, starting May 1, you'll be able to let top leadership know the ideas you have that you think can save the Air Force money. Go to www.af.mil or the AF portal and submit your ideas to "Airmen powered by innovation." Gen. Spencer said that every Airman's submission will be reviewed and receive a return response.

If you've ever had one of those "light bulb" moments when you realized there's a better way, take some time between now and when the 30-day window closes June 1 and submit your idea. If you haven't had one of those moments yet, look around you. Instead of just doing a task, think about that task and all the steps and costs involved. Are they all necessary? Are you doing them because an Air Force Instruction says to, but not because it makes sense? Gen. Spencer said the Air Force is willing to revise AFIs if an idea submission warrants it.

Our Vice Chief wants us all to know the future of our Air Force starts with us. He says, "Each of us must find new ways to win the fight, strengthen the team, and shape the future. Every Airman, every day, can make a difference. Be that Airman and let me know your thoughts on how we can better fly, fight and win!" I challenge you to make a difference and take advantage of this great opportunity!

Editor's note: For more information about Airmen Powered by Innovation, please click here. You can find the text to Gen. Spencer's email here.