WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Air Force Materiel Command captured more than $2.5 billion in cost savings for fiscal year 2017, the second fiscal year in a row the command has achieved its strategic savings objective.
“Financial stewardship and budget discipline are not new concepts for AFMC,” said Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, AFMC commander. “Air Force leadership looks to AFMC as the service’s cost conscience. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously and a goal we are constantly striving to work toward.”
Objective 3.1’s stated purpose is to “generate cost awareness to drive savings/avoidance by over $2 billion per year,” according to the 2017 AFMC Strategic Plan. The objective aligns with the command’s third goal to “drive cost-effectiveness into the capabilities we provide.”
This objective encompasses multiple categories of savings, to include:
• Cost savings: Funds, manpower or other resources which are tied to a budget line and offered back to the command and are removed from the organization’s budget;
• Cost avoidance: Benefits from actions that reduce or eliminate the need for an increase in manpower or costs, to include funds, manpower or other resources. It also includes cost savings re-purposed and not returned to the command; and,
• Time savings: Employees’ time freed up through productivity gains and translated into dollars.
All AFMC centers, as well as many Headquarters AFMC directorates, actively contributed initiatives, with the top five highest dollar amounts originating from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Some examples of savings initiatives, gathered from around the command, include the following:
Air Force Sustainment Center
The center’s Strategic Alternative Sourcing Program Office searched the commercial aviation sector for used aircraft parts to repair military aircraft, finding savings in parts with prices lower than those the Air Force has paid in the past. The program office manages the process of qualifying the parts and authorizing new vendors as additional sources of supply for procurement.
Savings: $21.4 million in cost avoidance
Air Force Research Laboratory
The lab initiated Agile Business Processes in fiscal year 2016 aimed to gather improvements and resources savings from employees and throughout the organization. Reported cost avoidances include cancelling low-value support contracts, divesting and transferring tasks to other agencies or organizations, and centralizing and streamlining processes.
Savings: $17 million in cost avoidance
Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center
The center’s Air Force Installation Contracting Agency led the acquisition to implement contracted transient alert services across major commands. This $145 million acquisition provides support to passing aircraft temporarily landing at, but not assigned to, the bases. It also provides support such as equipment and ensuring aircraft safety. The initiative covers 44 Air Force bases at nine major commands.
Savings: $6.5 million in cost avoidance
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
The center’s Engine Water Wash Program washed more than 416 bomber, tanker, reconnaissance, and airlift jet engines resulting in improved operating performance, saving more than 577,000 gallons of jet fuel. The program aims to reduce engine fuel consumption by using heated high-pressure deionized water to remove accumulated internal contaminants from an engine’s components.
Savings: ~$1.9 million in cost avoidances
Air Force Test Center
The center developed a new, enhanced yaw testing technique, eliminating damaged balances and preventing testing delays caused by obtaining replacement balances. The prior technique involved a 90-degree roll, followed by pitching, to simulate yaw, which regularly led to broken balances.
Savings: $375,000 in cost savings
Brig. Gen. James Peccia III, director of the AFMC Financial Management Directorate, said that though these savings were achieved during the most recent fiscal year, there remains a continual need for innovative approaches resulting in reduced costs and more efficient processes.
“Our Airmen’s ingenuity is inspiring,” Peccia said. “Month after month they keep finding new ways to work smarter and more efficiently. Those savings can go directly to our mission readiness and support of the warfighter.”
The command’s focus on fiscal responsibility echoes the message of Secretary of Defense James Mattis in a memo issued to all Defense Department personnel on March 26. In it, he underscored the responsibility of each DOD member to commit to “exercis[ing] the utmost degree of financial stewardship as you instill budget discipline within your organization.”
AFMC personnel interested in sharing a cost savings initiative with the AFMC Financial Management Directorate can send an email to AFMC.FM.Workflow@us.af.mil. The message should include a title for the initiative, a short description, the organization represented, and the submitter’s contact information.