45th Space Wing leads AFSO21 efforts

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms
  • Commander, 45th Space Wing
We all know that the Air Force is facing a challenging future with implementing a ground-breaking strategy for recapitalization, but through the process of change, we need to ensure that our workforce is spending our limited time and budget with maximum efficiency. Through out the Force, leaders everywhere will look at wasteful processes, because we simply can no longer afford them. So if you have not yet heard of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO21), then I sincerely urge you to get on board because the 45th Space Wing is leading the way!

AFSO21 is a fundamental change to the culture of the Air Force. It's all about streamlining procedures and processes to do work right the first time and eliminate non-mission critical tasks. AFSO21 is an Air Force unique model that uses portions of Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and Business Process Reengineering, and it is entirely focused on process results: delivering combat capability.

The 45th Space Wing's first major AFSO21 effort will be focused on our main mission: delivering hardware to space. The first step to any AFSO21 effort is to evaluate the current situation. We need to look at our launch mission and identify each and every step of the process, from end to end. We need to evaluate each step as adding value to the final result we want...and if the step doesn't add value, we'll eventually look for ways to kill that step.

A key Lean tool that the 45th Space Wing will be implementing to baseline our launch process is called Value Stream Mapping. I have dedicated next week (10-16 Dec) to complete a value stream map of our current launch process. This value stream analysis will be instrumental to identifying areas of waste in our current processes and will lay the foundation for eliminating non-value added tasks. Our plan is to outbrief the results of our value stream mapping to the Secretary of the Air Force when he visits the Sharks again in mid-January.

The 45th Space Wing is dedicated to the AFSO21 cause, and your leadership is committed and fully engaged. AFSO21 is a participation sport. Each and every one of you can and should be involved by helping your commanders identify non-value added tasks. If there's something you feel you are required to do, day-in and day-out, that is, in your opinion, wasteful, please inform your chain of command--each of you are too valuable to be wasting your time on unnecessary work. Let's work together to do our part to fundamentally change the culture of the Air Force, and let's do so with a sense of urgency. Our lives, and potentially the lives of all Americans, depend on it!