Air Force Materiel Command Rolls Out “AFMC We Need” Initiative

The AFMC We Need initiative is a grassroots effort designed to recommend changes to posture the command for future success. Air Force Materiel Command graphic.

Air Force Material Command has unveiled the “AFMC We Need” initiative to ensure the command’s structure and resourcing are strategically equipped to back up the National Defense Strategy.

The future AFMC must be flexible, agile, and able to adapt to technological advancement to combat modern threats, according to the initiative’s webpage.

"AFMC built the most powerful Air Force in the world and our nation is depending on us to build the Air Force we need to secure our nation’s future,” AFMC chief Gen. Arnold Bunch said in a statement featured on the webpage. "However, our adversaries have caught up or exceeded our capabilities in many areas. Therefore, our command must change at the speed of relevance to counter these threats and build and sustain the most lethal and ready Air Force."

Video: Matthew Clouse/AFMC

The effort will be divided into three phases and last through the middle of August, according to an AFMC release. It is being guided by a central team based out of the command’s headquarters (with support from an independent contractor), and AFMC Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer is leading the overall charge. Col. Pat McDonnell, the command’s National Guard advisor, is heading up the operational team, and Yancy Mailes, director of the command’s history and museums program, is supervising the work of task force teams.

“The wide-reaching initiative will study command processes, resources, and command and control structure,” according to the release.

The initiative will look at:

  • “Unity of command and effort, including major command and program office structure and authorities
  • Command processes and the ability to support aging weapon systems
  • Internal structure and organization
  • Agility to adapt to provide rapid capabilities and logistics for the future
  • Alignment among multiple emerging initiatives and strategies
  • Ability to anticipate needs and lead solutions”

Every AFMC employee has the chance to contribute to the initiative via an anonymous online survey. Questions focus on ways to speed decision making, how to transform its risk-averse culture “to one that ‘learns from mistakes,’” and potential areas of innovation, among other topics. In addition, certain people from every AFMC location will take part in live interviews and focus groups, the release said.

AFMC will update staff on initiative progress via email, social media, in-person gatherings, and commander’s calls, according to the initiative webpage.

The effort will culminate in “a series of recommendations and point papers” that will be given to leaders to review and act upon, with major recommendations potentially being released to the public, operational-security permitting.

“This is not a manpower cut or climate survey,” Bunch said in the release. “Rather, this is an opportunity for us as a command to identify those practices that work and those that are preventing us from being the agile and responsive AFMC our Air Force needs.”