ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
“Accelerate, change or lose …” When Gen. Charles Q. Brown issued this provocative edict days after taking the seat as our newly appointed chief of staff of the Air Force, it was an intentional call to Airmen everywhere on the imperative to reimagine and reengineer our Air Force to meet the strategic demands of tomorrow’s fight.
Having spent the last year at Air War College studying our rapidly evolving security environment becoming more and more defined by reemerging great power competition, Brown’s decree seemed timely. As a newly assigned division chief in Air Force Reserve Command’s Force Generation Center, the opportunity to directly impact our Reserve Citizen Airmen’s readiness seemed unparalleled. My excitement grew as I discovered the FGC team already aggressively leaning forward into this mindset.
Aligned with AFRC Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee’s priorities for the Air Force Reserve of prioritizing strategic depth and accelerating readiness, developing resilient leaders, and reforming the organization, the FGC is intensely committed to being the single point of fusion for the command’s warfighting readiness posture in today’s and tomorrow’s fight.
As recently as 2019, the FGC began working with our Guard counterparts at the Air National Guard Readiness Center and the Headquarters Air Force War Planning and Policy Division to revamp how the Air Force mobilizes Reservists in support of combatant commander requirements around the globe.
While still somewhat transparent to the majority of our Reserve Citizen Airmen, this working group’s outcome resulted in the newly minted Air Reserve Component Mobilization Process, which added significant agility and flexibility to the mobilization process. Essentially, the process and policy updates gave commanders more flexibility to fill a tasking by delegating authorities for change management and substitutions. These efforts not only added agility to the process, but also resulted in considerably fewer reclamas for the command.
Additionally, the FGC also reengineered a deliberate approach to our exercise participation across the command. The result will realign our readiness preparation to match our deploy-to-dwell mobilization windows. This newly purposed exercise posturing will reprioritize local exercise participation during dwell periods and combatant commander-sponsored exercise participation during deployment preparation windows. This effort will ensure our Reserve Citizen Airmen are relevant to emerging requirements as defined by our geographic combatant commanders.
Developing Resilient Leaders
Over the past year, the FGC has also been busy restructuring and rebuilding its team to ensure it is ready to support the evolving needs of our security landscape.
First, FGC leadership drove a 100% review for all the position descriptions for our full-time workforce. This review resulted in a myriad of reclassification efforts, including position description rewrites, position upgrades and internal realignments of manpower.
This restructuring focused on recruitment, retention and development of our civilian workforce. Additionally, the FGC successfully converted 15 Air Reserve Technician positions to Active Guard and Reserve positions across the center.
Finally, leadership reclassified many military positions from general staff Air Force Specialty Codes to more specific requirements to ensure the team had the right skillsets in the right positions. These actions resulted in the FGC overcoming a mission-critical manning shortage to being almost 100% manned over the course of the past year.
Additionally, the FGC has devoted considerable time to professionalizing its teammates both internally and externally.
Internally, the FGC has developed controls to track major programs and processes; institutionalized officer, enlisted and career field-specific professional development forums; hosted various wellness training seminars; and conducted various team building events.
Externally, the FGC reinvigorated its outreach to units starting with hosting a virtual mobility conference with all units identified for mobilization in Reserve Component Period 06.
In September, the FGC also began hosting monthly telecons again with wing leadership for units presently mobilized and those postured to mobilize. In October, the FGC even restarted unit visits. Although COVID forced most of these engagements into virtual forums, FGC leadership remained flexible in exploring different platforms to host and consistently sought feedback to ensure we remained responsive to the needs of our internal and external customers.
Reforming the Organization
What I believe has been most impressive about the FGC is the team’s exhaustive efforts to reform itself into the team our Air Force Reserve and nation needs for today’s and tomorrow’s fight.
Since September 2019, the FGC has conducted nine continuous process improvement events. CPIs are no small undertaking. Anyone who has been part of a CPI knows the significant preparation and required follow-through. The outcomes, however, can be considerable, especially with the fiscal constraints of the defense budget so heavily focused on recapitalizing our aging infrastructure. Here is a list of the events the FGC conducted since September 2019:
Airmen Mobilization Package Processing (Sept. 2019)
Functional Area Representatives AMP Standardized Work (Nov. 2019)
Battle Watch Data Collection Process (Jan. 2020)
Crisis Action Team Command, Control and Communications Improvements (April 2020)
Request for Information Processes (Sept. 2020)
M4S Processes (Oct. 2020)
Deployment Orders Cell Processes (Oct. 2020)
Single Mobility System and Threat Working Group Processes (Nov. 2020)
Transportation Processes (Nov. 2020)
Like all CPIs, these events focused on identifying and reducing wasted energy, overcoming communication barriers and evolving our services to better serve our customers. To ensure our customers remained at the forefront of our solution sets, each event had internal and external customer representation.
Having participated in three of these CPIs, I have been amazed to watch the team’s dedication and ingenuity as they endeavored to reengineer, reimagine and, in some cases, reinvent their processes to be better for our Reservists.
CPIs haven’t been the only vehicle for change in the FGC. Arguably, one of our most significant efforts to date to reimagine how we can better serve our customers has been our beta test to evaluate the possibility of centralizing mobilization orders production at the FGC.
The test was aimed at getting Airmen their deployment orders 180 days before their deployment to maximize their pre-deployment Tricare benefits.
The beta test included eight units and 895 Airmen deploying in RCP05. Overall, the test successfully cut the average processing time from 59 days to approximately seven days for most units involved in the test.
The FGC is currently advocating within the command’s corporate process to adopt this mission, with plans to support mobilization requirements for the entire Air Force Reserve starting with RCP07.
As I pause to reflect on what the FGC endeavored this year, I am humbled to be part of this incredible team. The FGC's willingness to reform itself ensured it was ready when COVID-19 turned our world upside down. We were ready!
The FGC facilitated sending 125 Reserve Citizen Airmen from across the country to the front lines in New York City in less than 48 hours, a first for our Air Force Reserve.
As we consider the uncertainty of our evolving geostrategic landscape, there is little doubt that we need to evolve to face tomorrow’s challenges. It is a privilege to be part of a team so faithfully committed to serving our nation and meeting the challenges of tomorrow's fight. We will be ready!
As our FGC motto decrees: Ne Quid Pereat! … “That Nothing Be Lost!”
#ReserveReady #ReserveResilient #ReserveReform
(Dorey is the FGC's Systems Division chief.)