***image1******image2***Today’s military environment encompasses high operations tempo with deployments around the world and commanders at all levels seeking the support needed to accomplish their global missions.
This is especially true for major command commanders in the Air Force today as they fight the Global War on Terrorism.
Gen. Gregory S. Martin, former U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, returned here April 5 to 9 for the first time since his departure last summer with a different agenda at hand, ensuring Air Force Materiel Command resources are applied to resolve USAFE warfighters highest priority issues.
“The Air Force rides on the back of AFMC, and they’re riding high,” said General Martin, AFMC commander. “There’s been five wars in the past 13 years, and air and space power has enabled other forces to accomplish their missions. Be it science and technology integration or acquisitions, AFMC has been there leading the way.”
Co-chairing the AFMC-USAFE MAJCOM Day with Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAFE commander, representatives from the two commands came together April 7 discussing how AFMC can better support USAFE and its vast mission.
“We’ve supported USAFE in the past, but there are always things that we can do better,” said General Martin. “So we’re going to put our attention on these items and address them head on.”
One of the topics discussed included the F-16 block 50-modification program at Spangdahlem Air Base called Common Configuration Implementation Program. The program is designed to create identical cockpits in each fighter while increasing communication abilities with land, air and sea forces.
Spangdahlem was the first unit in the Air Force to get the new system and has endured the growing pains that go along with it. Normally a system is tested in the United States, but this particular system was initiated in Germany to get it out into the field sooner.
“Unfortunately, they had to carry the burden of the first article,” said General Martin.
“Spearheading the difficulties, but learning from it at the same time. Yes, we had some issues but are working together to fix them.”
Another change General Martin intends to implement is the integration of AFMC services at the individual unit levels.
“Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom are prime examples of how effective the deployment schedule we use is working,” he said. “People are properly provisioned, equipped and ready to go as a result of this countdown system.
“The maintenance and supply functions at the unit levels use a detailed checklist from the plans they build when preparing to deploy,” he continued. “Today, we as a command respond to their actions. However, I want AFMC to anticipate their needs and get ahead of the game. This can only be accomplished if we understand the unit’s battle rhythm.”
Every item a member uses has been through AFMC at one point or another, whether it was research and development, acquisition support or sustainment. General Martin added that it’s imperative they know the shortfalls that the field is experiencing so they can provide better service.
“Every Airman in the field has a responsibility to let us know if the system they use is working well, but isn’t available; if they have what they need and its meeting their objectives; or if they don’t have something that has yet to be invented, but will benefit them in accomplishing the mission. It’s never going to be perfect, but we should always try,” he said.