Friday, October 29, 2010

Air Force Discusses Efficiencies, C-5M

Gen. Carrol H. Chandler spoke Oct. 28
at the CSIS on Air Force efficiencies.
At a military strategy forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies Oct. 28, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Carrol H. Chandler, spoke about the Air Force’s approach to the Department of Defense’s savings and efficiencies initiative.
The department needs to become more efficient because it needs a 2-3 percent top line growth to maintain today’s level of output, yet only expects a 1 percent growth, Gen Chandler said. “That could mean negative growth given increasing personnel costs.”
The force is scouring for ideas from within to become more efficient and a few themes have emerged from their research such as eliminating wasteful spending and eliminating redundancies.
"I don't think anybody in the Air Force will argue that we can't be more efficient at what we do," said Gen. Chandler.

Gen. Chandler said we need to get past the idea that if you don’t spend your entire budget at the end of the year, that it will somehow be reduced the following year. Overcoming that instilled fear will prevent wasteful end-of-year spending.
He also applauded the younger generation’s reliance on online tools and said instead of carting things off to DRMO, the department should have a “craigslist” type service.

Some of the other inefficiencies he cited were redundancies formed through the Numbered Air Force construct and duplicative inspections.

On a greater scale, Gen. Chandler discussed some of the efficiencies that could be had across services. He applauded the Joint Fires Integration Interoperability Team at Joint Forces Command, which provides input to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council making acquisition recommendations. He gave two examples. Both the Army and Air Force both have precision munitions within their arsenals. Are there efficiencies to be had by looking at precision munitions development and acquisition holistically across the services? The other joint area he cited was the Air-Sea Battle concept between the Navy and Air Force.

This topic of discussion brought up the question about Secretary Gates’ dictum to delete JFCOM. Gen. Chandler posed the question that all the pieces of JFCOM came from somewhere, but the question is how well can DoD put those pieces back and can the joint staff manage those processes as efficiently as JFCOM.

ROA’s Air Force Director, David Small, asked about the efficiencies proven by the C-5M and the modernization program’s anticipated $9 billion savings over the life of the fleet. Since the Air Force recognized the C-5M’s enhanced capabilities and cost savings, and has also admitted the need to retain a portion of the C-5A fleet to meet its global mobility requirement, why then is it not investing in modernizing the remainder of the C-5A fleet to add to that $9 billion savings? The program essentially pays for itself and then some.

Gen. Chandler, in what might be the first for the Air Force from his level, admitted that indeed it would like to modernize the C-5A fleet, but it comes down to money and the service will be looking at that. He said he was extremely pleased with the C-5M and the mobility portfolio is in the best shape of his career.

With regard to modernizing the C-5A fleet, The Reserve Officer suggests the old adage, sometimes you have to invest in order to save, and that perhaps the Air Force needs to strongly force the C-5A modernization onto the department for the long term savings it will get. Just as Popeye’s gambling friend Wimpy said, “Can I pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today?”

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