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Airmen make AFSO 21 successful

KADENA AB, Japan -- The Air Force's top smart operations leader said Airmen and their ideas are critical to the success of the service's efforts to improve efficiency during a visit here Sept. 17. 

"Individual Airmen are incredibly important to the success of AFSO 21, said Dr. Ronald Ritter, special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for Air Force Smart Operations 21. "Airmen have the opportunity and responsibility to contribute to the process." 

Doctor Ritter, on a tour of Pacific bases, said 60 percent of AFSO 21's impact comes from efforts of Airmen and mid-level employees to improve work-related issues and share their ideas with the Air Force to save money. 

"We care about Airmen being productive, ensuring equipment is readily available, making things faster, more responsive, and energy efficient," he said. 

The objective function of AFSO 21 is the results, impact, change and performance gains on things that are vital to the mission. Every person at every level plays a key role. 

"Leaders need to lead. They need to set direction, identify priorities and manage for results," Doctor Ritter said. "The mid-level needs to work, support and deliver resources to those front-line Airmen to be successful." 

It's the front-line Airmen who will find the problems and come up with the solutions, he added. 

"We have made a lot of progress in the last 12 months, but we have a very long way to go," he said. 

Every major command, every functional, every location is now engaged in AFSO 21, Doctor Ritter said. 

"We've seen incredibly high-quality activity going on, and it's frankly saving millions of work hours, saving millions of dollars, and increasing capability," he said. 

With 42,000 fewer people and $2 billion less spent on contracting, AFSO 21 is a very powerful tool for driving people productivity, said Doctor Ritter. 

"We have got to take responsibility and engage to help support that pressure that is in the system," he said. 

The biggest high-dollar, high-value initiative in the Air Force is fuel and energy management. 

"There's a lot of work going on, particularly in the Air Mobility Command, optimizing the use of fuel," he said. "That's important because being more flight efficient with fuel increases range and payload for all aircraft. It's a direct combat contribution." 

Many different areas in the Air Force are beginning to take hold of AFSO 21. In the future, Airmen will see new programs affecting the quality of professional military education -- at first term airmen centers, noncommissioned officer academies, and the Air War College. 

"We're most focused on getting a real good track record with real high value results being demonstrated and delivered so that people across the Air Force will understand and see the benefit," said Doctor Ritter. 

The core of AFSO 21 is to make Airmen -- the Air Force's most valuable asset -- more productive, he said. 

"My impression of Kadena's program is that it's off to a fantastic start," he said.
"[Wing] Leadership is engaged in setting the direction and the Airmen are improving their work environment." 

For more information about AFSO 21, contact: 18wg.afso21@kadena.af.mil or
Capt. John McDevitt or SMSgt. Kenny Trawick at 634-3166 or 634-3136.