WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Air Force has initiated the Make Every Dollar Count program, aimed at creating a culture focused on minimizing costs, harnessing efficiencies and redefining Air Force business paradigms. Currently, the MEDC portfolio consists of 13 Headquarters Air Force-level programs and 26 major command-sponsored initiatives that cut across multiple Air Force lines of business including acquisition strategy, contract management, maintenance repair operations and energy management.
The Airmen Powered by Innovation program is one of the initial 13 Headquarters Air Force initiatives under the MEDC umbrella. Moreover, it is the MEDC initiative most visible to Airmen in the field. API is the platform for empowering Airmen to make every dollar count and is intended to be an engine for grass-roots innovation across the Air Force. It is the Airmen’s voice to share innovative ideas that affect cost savings, quality, productivity, cycle time, process improvement and morale from the ground up to Air Force senior decision makers.
“The API program gives Air Force personnel, both military and civilian at all levels, a voice to share their ideas to improve our service,” said Col. Dennis King, the director of transformation outreach. “It allows them to review previously submitted ideas prior to submitting their own ideas which could lead to true savings in time, money and resources. Overall, API is making a real difference across the enterprise.”
Since its inception in April 2014, the API program has received more than 5,300 ideas from Airmen throughout the Air Force, which has identified potential cost savings of more than $37 million in taxpayer dollars.
“These figures continue to grow daily and are savings that can be used to make our Air Force more cost-efficient,
people-focused and mission effective,” King said. “It’s exciting to see that the API message is reaching our Airmen out in the field. For instance, I recently met an Airman from the 11th Force Support Squadron, at Joint Base Andrews, (Maryland), who was very excited to learn about API and how she and her colleagues could submit their ideas to improve our service. She was very interested and enthusiastic when learning these API ideas are being reviewed by the Air Force’s most senior leaders — our leadership is listening. These types of feedback from our Airmen continue to motivate our team, knowing that this program is making a difference.”
Submitting an API idea is simple; in September 2014, the Air Force’s Office of Business Transformation launched an enhanced API page hosted on the Air Force Portal. The page provides information including the latest API approval statistics, access to historical data, current status of ideas in progress and commonly received ideas that were approved or disapproved and rationale for disapproval. These are tools that can help refine and enhance potential submissions, making it even easier for Airmen to communicate their ideas on how to improve the way the Air Force does business.
Although the API program is one of the smallest of the MEDC initiatives that total $8 billion over the next five years, API is changing the way Airmen think about their role in making every dollar count and their responsibility to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.