The basics: Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century

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Authors: Anthony F. Antoline and Steven Green
Date: Summer 2008
From: Air Force Journal of Logistics(Vol. 32, Issue 2)
Publisher: U.S. Air Force, Logistics Management Agency
Document Type: Report
Length: 4,582 words

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Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO21) was introduced as an initiative, in part, as a response to the Air Force's need to modernize and recapitalize our aging aircraft and equipment fleet. Antiquated and stove-piped processes contributed to wide spread inefficiency throughout all areas of the Air Force, ranging from administration to production processes. It includes the commercial practices of four proven process improvement methodologies, all of which share the traits of continuous process improvement (CPI). These methodologies are Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and Business Process Reengineering. Key principles contained in these methodologies include improving flow within a process, focusing on factors that degrade quality in products, identifying and overcoming constraints within a process, and complete redesign of a process.

How can we be more effective at our jobs with efficiency built into the processes we have to execute every day? This is not a rhetorical question--leadership expects an answer. In order to meet the challenges we face daily, we must work smarter. AFSO21 is the instrument to get this accomplished. This article describes the basics of ASFO21, provides some history, describes its principles, and discusses some of the AFSO tools available.

What is the goal of implementing AFSO21 across the Air Force? The vision statement lays this out clearly.

The vision for AFSO21 is to establish a continuous process improvement (CPI) environment whereby all Airmen are actively eliminating waste and continuously improving processes. These improvements must be centered around the core missions we, as Airmen, are responsible for conducting--specifically to maintain the asymmetric advantages and capabilities the Air Force delivers in air, space, and cyberspace. We need to ensure we are also driving efficiencies and improvements across the board. Therefore, we must use the right tools and techniques to see and attack problems and leverage opportunities for improvement; and employ our greatest resource--innovative, dedicated Airmen. (1)

AFSO21 is not centered around one process, base, or major command. The Air Force is implementing AFSO throughout its entire enterprise. AFSO focuses on the components of the enterprise, the operating systems or tools and techniques we use, and the management infrastructure--including the structure, processes, and systems--that are required to execute the Air Force mission. Further, AFSO is very much about changing the mindset and capabilities of the people executing the Air Force mission. Simply put, it provides the tools and techniques to improve areas that are overburdened or inflexible, improve standardization, and eliminate waste.

Why AFSO21

AFSO21 was introduced as an initiative, in part, as a response to the Air Force's need to modernize and recapitalize its aging aircraft and equipment fleet. Antiquated and stove-piped processes contributed to wide spread inefficiency throughout all areas of the Air Force, ranging from administration to production processes.

AFSO21 includes the commercial practices of four proven process improvement methodologies, all of which share the traits of continuous process improvement. These methodologies are Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints (TOC), and Business Process Reengineering (BPR). Key principles contained in these methodologies include improving...

Source Citation

Source Citation
Antoline, Anthony F., and Steven Green. "The basics: Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century." Air Force Journal of Logistics, vol. 32, no. 2, Summer 2008, p. 22+. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.
  

Gale Document Number: GALE|A188582800