Tag Archives: innovation

No room for fear in innovation

By Col. Robert Novotny
48th Fighter Wing commander

“Throughout history, people with new ideas — who think differently and try to change things — have always been called troublemakers.” – Richelle Mead, author.

The Air Force is pushing hard for us to innovate. You hear it when our senior leaders give speeches or post articles imploring us to improve. Examples include the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, or AFSO21, process or the new Airmen Powered by Innovation program launched in April. All of that is great, except for the fact that over the last 30 years, we’ve created an organization that is resistant to failure.

Continue reading No room for fear in innovation

Five innovative Air Force aircraft that you’ve probably never heard of

By Staff Sgt. Antonio Gonzalez
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The history of the Air Force is rooted in finding new ways to solve problems. It’s one of creating out-of-the-box solutions and achieving greater possibilities. Drone technology, stealth aircraft and space vehicles were merely science fiction until we made them reality. The aircraft you are about to discover brought upon revolutionary new abilities for today’s Air Force and will continue to have an impact on technology in the future. Continue reading Five innovative Air Force aircraft that you’ve probably never heard of

Every Dollar Counts initiative update

By Gen. Larry O. Spencer, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force

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The Every Dollar Counts campaign is off and running! Airmen across the Air Force—military and civilian, active, Guard and Reserve—have embraced the idea of helping the Air Force make the best use of our scarce resources. I have provided some examples of great work that is ongoing below. We also activated our month-long “Airman Powered by Innovation” website, and the response has been overwhelming. We received over 1,700 ideas the very first day, and as of May 10, we have received more than 5,700 ideas. Now, we are hard at work evaluating ideas to identify those we can implement quickly—others that require Air Force instruction (AFI) or legislative changes will take a bit more time and work. Either way, our pledge is to evaluate and turn the ideas as quickly as possible and provide our Airmen feedback through the assessment process.

The evaluation process is quite impressive. We established a 16-person Airman Innovation Operations Center comprised of selected Air Staff functionals working full time. The team processes Airmen’s idea submissions and monitors the website forum that allows suggestions and permits real-time discussion via blog format. Once offices of primary responsibility have been identified, final disposition will be determined for each submission. When a suggestion is approved and implemented, the ideas will then be cross-fed across Air Staff, major commands and wings to generate cost savings Air Force-wide. So, keep those good ideas coming! Also, we are working on a transition plan for good ideas after the website closes on June 1, so that we can sustain the momentum going forward. 

To help inspire our Airmen, I want to highlight some incredible stories of Airmen and organizations that already epitomize the spirit of “Airmen Powered by Innovation” efforts. I hope the awesome work of these superstars will motivate people to go back and take a hard look at their programs and try to find ways to be more cost-conscious, recheck equipment surveys, find savings, identify redundant requirements and eliminate waste where possible. If you have a good idea we want to hear about it.

David Billingly is a telecommunications program manager for the Secretariat, Headquarters Air Force. Mr. Billingly completed a survey of all the telecommunication lines in the lease space for the Headquarters and after four months of analysis, he identified that there were over 1,260 unnecessary phone lines connected and being charged to the account. Once disconnected, the savings totaled $332,489. David Billingly EDC

The 103rd Rescue Squadron is part of the New York National Guard. While on TDY status to Exercise ANGEL THUNDER 2013, pararescue jumpers assigned to the squadron took advantage of a commercial wind tunnel outside of Tucson, AZ to practice their free-fall techniques for a fraction of the cost of a C-130 mission. Although the wind tunnel cannot replace actual live jumps, savings for similar training totaled more than $83,700.

The Electronic Flight Bag Team is stationed at Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB. They initiated the Mobility Air Forces’ move to electronic publications which resulted in eliminating 70-90 pounds of paper per crewmember and saved $770,000 in fuel weight per year. Overall savings including fuel and printing costs totals $2.54 million per year.

Master Sgt. Ernest Harrison is deployed to the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron. His detective work while deployed uncovered valuable equipment missing from an inventory list. Once identified, Harrison’s actions allowed Air Forces Central Command to cancel an expensive pending logistics requirement. The result saved the Air Force $348,571.

Sandra Cantrell is assigned to the headquarters Air Force staff and introduced cost-effective software that enabled the Pentagon graphics office to save time and money in printing certificates for retirements, awards, appointments and more. The old system was time consuming and wasted up to five sheets of high-quality paper. The resulting process has saved the Air Force $208,000 since it has been implemented. Sandy Cantrell EDC

Electronic Technical Orders. Over the last two years, Air Force Reserve Command led a pilot program for the Air Force to replace expensive, cumbersome and ruggedized laptops with lighter, cheaper and more flexible tablets for the maintenance community to view aircraft maintenance technical orders for their work on the flightline and in the back shops. The business case analysis estimates Air Force savings to be over $12 million per year by replacing ruggedized laptops with the tablets on an attrition basis. 

HQ Air Force Materiel Command Centralized Asset Management Team at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The centralized management of depot-level requirements, aviation fuel and flying hours mitigated FY13 sequestration reductions and resulted in efficiencies which maximized warfighter capability and minimized Air Force risk.

Finally, I want to say thank you! As always, our Airmen have responded to the call, and it is exciting to see and read about the successes you all are having every day. Your hard work is truly making a difference. Savings from the Every Dollar Counts Campaign are being used to help pay local shortfalls as well as corporate shortfalls such as flying hours and depot inductions. Your ideas are also causing us to take another look at many of our AFIs to ensure that we are not hindering Airmen from doing their jobs. In addition, this campaign has drawn interest from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and our sister Services for potential expansion across the Department of Defense.

Every Airman, every day, can make a difference—be that Airman!

Submit your ideas on  the Every Dollar Counts website now.

Good ideas wanted

Beginning May 1, Airmen can submit their cost-reducing ideas via the Airmen Powered by Innovation websites while at home, the office or on their smartphones.

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With budgets shrinking, Air Force leaders are calling on Airmen to share their best money-saving ideas through the “Every Dollar Counts” campaign.

Both uniformed and civilian Air Force members can participate in the month-long open call for ideas and share their creative and efficient ways to save money and time.

Feeling inspired? Submit your ideas on  the Every Dollar Counts website.

Keys to Success

by CMSAF James A. Roy
Exclusive for Air Force Live

Over the last three and a half years, many Airmen have asked me for tips to success in the Air Force. As I prepared for retirement, I compiled a list of a few things I think Airmen can do to achieve success.

1. Be great at what you do.
A young Airman’s most important task is to become proficient in his or her primary duty. Work toward being an expert in your field. You have to know your job inside and out to know how it could be done better. As we trade size for quality in our Air Force, we will need innovative subject matter experts more than ever.

2. Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can.
Get outside your comfort zone and learn something new every chance you get. Approach every opportunity with an open mind, and trust the senior NCOs and officers who may see things in you that you don’t see. Apply for special duties, volunteer for leadership roles and seek education opportunities.

3. Be a bold leader.
Define success for the Airmen you supervise. Provide the resources they need and hold them accountable for achieving it. Deliver the required, appropriate feedback, and listen closely to your Airmen when they talk. What do they want? What do they need? How can you help? Tactfully and respectfully stand up for what’s right.

Hard to believe these simple things are the keys to success? It’s true. In the future, our Air Force will rely even more on Airmen to be great at what they do, to take on new challenges, and to accept increased leadership responsibilities.

I know you are up to the challenge.

Thank you for your service.


CMSAF James A. Roy
16th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force