Local National digitizes Kindly Submitted Letter process

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Sandoval
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

For many goods, services and processes that impact U.S. service members here, communication is a must with the Turkish air force’s 10th Tanker Base Command, the host unit of Incirlik.

It's a lengthy dance of drafting, translating, printing, signing, scanning, emailing, and hand delivering documents. It’s a process that leaves much room for error; a process known to those assigned to Incirlik as the “KSL”, or Kindly Submitted Letter.

A KSL is the official form of communication from the 39th Air Base Wing to the 10th TBC. Given the extensive cradle-to-grave process the KSL requires, one local national assigned to the 39th Contracting Squadron, Arda Kandirali, looked to improve things on a large scale and streamline it.

"Any request, notification, gate pass, or communication from our wing to the Turkish side is transmitted through these documents," explained Arda Kandirali, 39th CONS contracting officer. "The KSL bares our letterhead and is signed by either the wing commander or deputy commander."

Kandirali is no stranger to exhaustive processes as he has drafted many KSLs as a contracting officer.

“We lacked a legitimate, efficient, method to process the KSLs,” said Kandirali. “It required a lot of manual input so we needed something that could run through the entire approval flow while also having a repository to hold the historical data of previous ones.”

This led to him looking for ways to completely digitize the process, eventually creating an app that did just that. Initially, the app was strictly for 39th CONS use, but during the squadron’s immersion with Col. Kevin Lord, 39th ABW commander, it made a big impression that sparked an even bigger idea, to make it available base wide.

“He asked me to make this available for the whole wing,” Kandirali said.

In true innovative style, Kandirali had already taught himself coding and programming, he had a knack for enhancing processes both at work and at home. So, naturally, when asked to take on this arduous task, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

“I spent roughly 1,000 hours on this app,” said Kandirali. “I'm self-taught, so it took a while to do. It was a huge learning curve.”

The creation of the app was extremely laborious, both in time and effort but Kandirali’s squadron leadership ensured him he had their full support. This type of empowerment is emblematic of the confidence wing leadership has for partner nations across the board.

“The moment the wing gave me this tasker, my leadership allowed me to completely focus on it,” said Kandirali. “They would regularly check on me and ask if I needed any help or resources. They trusted me to create this app with minimal input from really anyone.”

Kandirali further explained he recently held a training on navigating the app for members and plans to continue to update the app as more feedback rolls in.

By creating this app, Kandirali demonstrates the importance of empowering individuals at all levels to cultivate an innovative culture, not only among U.S. Airmen, but also among our civilians and local nationals.

“This is the future of the Air Force,” said Lord. “Empowering our civilians and local nationals to innovate is what we need to do. Kandirali’s innovation is fantastic for our partnership with the Turkish 10th Tanker Base.”

With the process automated and streamlined, the margin for error has lessened, ensuring that communication with the 10th TBC is clear and concise so that the U.S. mission at Incirlik can continue.