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Initiative draws large feedback, widespread support

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MARCOA Media
Story by Marisa Alia-Novobilski on 08/02/2019
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio The Air Force Materiel Command's AFMC We Need initiative continues to make steady progress, with project teams completing phase two visits to AFMC operating locations this week.

More than 4,000 surveys and nearly 7,000 interviews are complete at this time, resulting in more than 30,000 comments and data points for review.

"This initiative is a first for our command and we are receiving outstanding feedback on how AFMC can best support the Air Force and our nation. We want to hear from every Airman in AFMC and look forward to providing Gen. Bunch the best information to take AFMC to the next level," said Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer, AFMC deputy commander.

The AFMC We Need initiative is an enterprise-wide effort to ensure the organization is adequately postured to support Air Force needs and the requirements of the National Defense Strategy. The initiative aims to identify both the areas in which the command excels as well as the challenges and opportunities for improvement across the mission footprint. The survey and interview findings will be analyzed to create a series of recommendations for AFMC leadership review and potential action at the conclusion of the study.

"From the beginning, we expected to find that issues such as information technology infrastructure and facilities would be systemic. Not only is the data providing validation, but it is also giving us a better picture of specific concerns and their impacts on our people and mission. Further analysis is going to tell us how widespread the issues may be," said Col. Patrick McDonnell, AFMC We Need operational team lead.

Some early data trends include issues centered on slow networks, outdated equipment, IT infrastructure and facility improvement needs. A desire to streamline processes and approval hierarchies was identified in a number of different mission areas, though it is too early to know if issues are command-wide or specific to functional areas, locations or centers.

"Until we have all the data and leadership has the chance to review, we cannot make a full determination of what changes need to occur," said McDonnell. "However, we are looking to see what small changes we can make now -- quick wins'that can help alleviate some concerns."

Though the initiative has identified a number of areas for potential change, survey responses and focus groups also highlighted a number of positives. At the Air Force Research Laboratory, for example, researchers indicated an overall high-level of job satisfaction and love of creating and inventing new technologies for the Air Force.

"People are happy to be here. They enjoy their work, support AFRL's mission and have leaders they respect," said 2nd Lt. James Wymer, an AFRL officer supporting the AFMC We Need team. "Nearly everyone was eager to talk about areas for improvement, and they are hopeful for positive changes."

Focus group attendees were also very willing to discuss issues and needs, said interviewers. In general, participants are hopeful that the initiative drives positive change for the organization.

"The best ideas for change often come from those who are working the issues each day," said Schaefer. "We truly believe that our AFMC Airmen have ideas and solutions, and we want them to share those recommendations with us."

The three-phase effort will continue through mid-August. AFMC We Need teams will complete focus groups at Edwards Air Force Base, Hill AFB, and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland this week, and they will visit AFMC units at Arnold AFB, Tinker AFB and Scott AFB, August 6-8. The survey will remain open on the AFMC We Need website through the end of August.

"This is an opportunity to help create the AFMC We Need, and your support is critical to our success, " said Schaefer. "We appreciate the support of all those who have participated so far, and we look forward to receiving additional feedback as we complete data collection over the next few weeks."

To learn more about the AFMC We Need study and how to participate, visit the AFMC We Need website at https://www.afmc.af.mil/About-Us/AFMCWeNeed. Links to the online questionnaire and study information is located there. Updates are posted to the website and across AFMC social media channels as they become available.

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