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Air Force merges work at 3 depots into single center

Jul. 11, 2012 - 01:38PM   |  
By JEFF SCHOGOL   |   Comments
An Air Force civilian worker creates a special tool for milling A-10 Thunderbolt II wing mounts.
An Air Force civilian worker creates a special tool for milling A-10 Thunderbolt II wing mounts. (Air Force)

The Air Force has consolidated operations at its three strategic depots into the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

The consolidation is part of Air Force Materiel Command’s reorganization, which has eliminated 1,050 overhead positions to save $100 million annually, said Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Litchfield, who became the sustainment center’s first commander on Monday.

By consolidating operations at the sustainment center, the Air Force hopes to make operations more efficient to save the Air Force even more money, Litchfield told Air Force Times.

“In today’s Air Force, the cost of readiness will determine how big an Air Force we can ultimately afford,” Litchfield said. “We think if we can drive down costs, we can maintain the size of our — or at least help to shape the size of our Air Force and really posture ourselves to be ready for the next fight.”

Major overhauls of aircraft, engines and avionics are performed at Tinker and two other places: Hill Air Force Base, Utah; and Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Litchfield told Air Force Times. The sustainment center will oversee the depots at those three bases as well as at two supply chain wings.

Airmen and civilians doing the actual work should not be affected by the changes in the management structure, Litchfield said.

“For every one of these bases, the people who are doing what I call the ground-level mission work — the mechanics that are turning wrenches, the contracting officers that are executing contracts, the supply chain managers that are getting our parts and putting them in the right place — we didn’t lose any of those folks, and for them this reorganization will not affect them directly,” he said.

Change invariably brings unexpected issues that need to be dealt with, but Litchfield said hundreds of people have been involved in the plans to set up the sustainment center.

“Because of that organizational structure, I am very confident that when those unexpected ‘gotchas’ pop up, we’re going to have the right response team in place to solve it, to identify it and to move on to our mission,” he said.

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