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3-Star: USAF Materiel Command's Reorganization 'Makes Sense'

Apr. 1, 2014 - 10:11AM   |  
By AARON MEHTA   |   Comments
Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore is commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for the US Air Force.
Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore is commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for the US Air Force. (US Air Force)
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WASHINGTON — In 2012, US Air Force Materiel Command underwent a massive transforma­tion, consolidating 12 centers around the nation into five locations. Helping to guide that reorganization was Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore, the vice commander. Following those changes, Moore was named commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, where he oversees what he calls “a combination of acquisition and life-cycle support” for the service.

Q. What drove the change in the way Materiel Command is organized?

A. We had these 12 centers, and we realized there was tremendous overhead associated with running those 12 business units as independent entities. We realized we could be far more efficient if we aligned not by geography but by mission. We effectively aligned all those organizations across the country that had a life-cycle management responsibility, that is a responsibility to acquire systems and then support these systems once in the field. Life-cycle management is the combination of acquisition and life-cycle support.

There are 77 locations where I have personnel across the US, with nine larger locations and headquartered at Wright-Patterson in Ohio. My challenge on Day 1 was how to lash together these various organizations that had different ways of doing business and different focus areas and build an integrated corporate process for delivering capability.

Q. Has there been resistance?

A. I sometimes joke that this has been change management at the Ph.D. level. Everyone had a different way of doing business and frankly hadn’t worked that closely with some of their counterparts at other locations. There was a culture change that needed to happen. It was tedious and hard work because you needed people to roll up their sleeves and really understand how we were doing business, what were the best practices, how do we incorporate those and make those our own. What’s really exciting is those who resisted on Day 1 are coming around and saying, this really makes sense.

Q. How has the budget situation impacted your work?

A. One challenge we did not, and could not, anticipate was the budget issues we had to face midstream in this major change. That goes back to last year when we had no budget, operating under a continuing resolution and had sequestration imposition midyear that impacted not just our budget but sustainment and maintenance. The neat thing is on the backside of dealing with those budget shocks, we are adapting and we are making process changes to put us in a better position to deal with those types of budget adjustments. We survived it, we did adapt, and we are learning from that and making our organization more flexible and more agile.

Q. What has industry response to these changes been like?

A. It’s been good. I’ve met with a number of industry teams. Industry typically wants to follow our lead to make sure they are aligned most effectively to engage with us. Early on, there was some level of uncertainty in how best to plug in because they had grown accustomed to the geo-centric way we were operating. If there was a platform they were focused on, their plug-in point may have been at a singular location. Their plug-in is not tied to geography now, it’s tied to that program leadership team. Industry has adapted. One of our key focus areas is building stronger partnerships with industry. As we drive for speed with discipline that we need, [we] must have a cooperative industry partner who sees the same value.

Q. How are you handling the growth in cyber?

A. We don’t just field weapons systems that operate independently today. Every system we field has multiple connections to other systems — system-of-systems capability. That’s our strength, but that is also a vulnerability. So we are attacking vulnerabilities in that complex system of systems to ensure we understand where the potential weakest links are so our systems can always operate for full [effectiveness] in a compromised cyber environment.

We’re all waking up to the criticality of getting cyber resiliency right in our design in our protections for weapons systems. We fielded systems when cyber wasn’t cool, and we’re addressing every one of those thousands of systems to make sure we understand if there are potential vulnerabilities. Program managers need to do that, and it’s something that is now front and center for them.

Email: amehta@defensenews.com.

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