Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield,
commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, is trying to “develop a
cost-conscious culture” through an initiative dubbed the “Road to a Billion and
April 4, 2014: Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, is trying to
“develop a cost-conscious culture” through an initiative dubbed the “Road to a
Billion and Beyond.”
AFSC “has documented improvements of [$786.7]
million through savings and cost avoidance” measures in Fiscal 2013, Litchfield
told the Daily Report.
With R2B&B, “we’re trying to develop a
cost-conscious culture,” he said in an April 4 interview. We need to go from
being effective to cost-effective, he added.
Litchfield emphasized the need to be more
cost-conscious and to “balance everything out” as funds are transitioning away
from a wartime operating budget to a peacetime operating budget.
In a recent white paper, released April 1, Litchfield
introduced the concept of weapons system cost-effective readiness. In order to
achieve CER, Litchfield outlined eight tenets, which include finding ways to
provide more readiness for the same cost or today’s readiness for less cost;
using scientific, data-driven decision-making processes to achieve the best
cost benefit; funding only to required readiness targets and not above and
beyond; and finding opportunities to trade volume for velocity.
“We have two choices,” he wrote. Either “accept
the costs and reduce capability or change the way we do business.”
AFSC has managed to create efficiencies in a
variety of areas by saving and using cost avoidance measures, Litchfield said.
In the operating arena, AFSC reduced its execution cost and drive efficiencies
while maintaining weapons systems. In the supply chain arena, AFSC learned to
make better, more accurate predictions. In infrastructure support, “we’ve been
able to actually accelerate and be more effective [in reducing] the actual
amount of energy it takes to sustain our bases,” he said.
Another concept AFSC is looking into is surge
and recovery modeling, which is still in the research stage and is being
sponsored by Air Force Materiel Command.
The concept looks at “how do we posture from a
peacetime operation … to a high-end fight where we have to have a lot of
capability?” said Litchfield. It’s an “exciting initiative,” he added.
In the Air Force’s 2014
posture statement, service leaders said they had to cut maintenance to
facilities, in most cases by 50 percent, due to sequestration.
AFSC is “heavily dependent upon our
infrastructure,” said Litchfield. “Our infrastructure is really what I would
consider our readiness,” he said. But in many cases, these World War II-era
buildings are not seeing any “preventive maintenance.”
The “inability to upgrade infrastructure” slows
efficiency when “you find things like water leaks in heating systems” or other
damages that need repair, he said.
“It makes it very difficult to keep our
infrastructure dependent [and] … operating so that we [can] get efficient
operations across the fleet. And that’s really the problem that we have,” he
If the Air Force adopts the tenets found in the
white paper, one of the biggest challenges will be the “time it takes to
transition” them, said Litchfield. Some of the tenets will take a while to
implement while others “will take longer.”
There’s going to be a six-month delay in the start of
F-35 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, program and Pentagon
leaders said Tuesday.
Lawmaker wishes to separate the F-35’s Block IV upgrade
program from the rest of the project—stated in the 2017 National
Defense Authorization Act—won’t slow things down, but it will add a lot
of cost, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said.
To stave off a fighter pilot exodus and reduce the growing pilot shortage, Air Force planners are considering a myriad of approaches. But they believe increasing the retention bonus could have the most immediate impact.
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