News>Altus leads AETC in transition to cost-conscious culture
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. –Senior Airman Corey Barr, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuel systems maintenance journeyman, and Airman 1st Class Michael Wiggins, 97th CES water and fuel systems maintenance apprentice, install a pipe behind a tanker fuel yard, Aug. 14, 2012. The 97th CES is working on a raw water irrigation project which satisfies a cost-conscious culture. The non-potable irrigation water will be used to water the Windy Trails Golf Course, saving the base around $48,000 on utility cost per year and saving the City of Altus around $12,000 on operational cost per year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Klynne Pearl Serrano / 97th Air Mobility Wing / Released)
by Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
1/28/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- A small base, in a small community, has shown how large of an impact it can make by leading the way in Air Education and Training Command's transition to a cost-conscious culture, or C3.
Since the beginning of January 2012, the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., has generated more than 91 cost-saving ideas, which accounts for nearly 25 percent of the 414 ideas submitted from across the command.
In January 2012 at the AETC Symposium, AETC Commander Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. rolled out a new initiative to change the mindset behind cost-cutting measures at the individual level in an effort to create a culture within the command that promotes innovative saving solutions.
The C3 initiative also challenged every Airman in AETC to save $3 per day, or $37 million across the command, for six months of 2012. Altus AFB has exceeded that challenge with $71 per person, or $32 million within that same six month period.
"AETC voiced the importance of a cost-conscious culture, and we carried that importance to our installation with an equivalent level of attention and energy," said Col. Anthony Krawietz, 97th AMW commander.
To raise awareness and encourage participation, Altus AFB leadership created a dedicated C3 team that reached out to young Airmen in Airman Leadership School and at the First Term Airman Center. The effort allowed Altus AFB to reach Airmen who are still at an impressionable stage in their careers.
"Our young Airmen are key to C3 success," said Maj. Theodore Shanks, Altus AFB's C3 team leader. "As we know, the more ingrained a member becomes in an institution, the more accustomed they become to its 'ways.' Our young Airmen are naturally positioned to give us fresh perspectives, which are keystones to innovation. Simply asking, 'why?' can nurture immense change within an organization. If new enlisted Airmen can begin their careers with cost consciousness in mind, they will form the backbone of a future cost-aware force."
That mindset has paid off for Altus AFB, which has already made use of innovative solutions from its young Airmen such as replacing a $23 plastic strap used to hang quick-don masks inside KC-135 Stratotankers with 30-cent nylon webbing that is more durable.
Another money-saving idea led to the construction of an M203 grenade launcher firing range at Altus AFB. The range was built at a reduced cost and provided security forces Airmen an alternative to travelling to Sheppard AFB, Texas, for training, which is a 190-mile round trip.
"We have to change our old way of thinking," said Chief Master Sgt. David Fish, 97th AMW command chief. "So much weight is already on the backs of our (noncommissioned officers), due to the change of manning and resources over the past 20 years. If we can inspire our youngest Airmen with the importance of this new culture, C3 will be a new way of life, not just another program."
Instilling a culture of cost consciousness is an ongoing process, but the command headquarters is already impressed by AETC's direction after just a year since the C3 initiative was implemented.
"Altus has implemented a highly successful C3 program. They have made great strides in streamlining costs and saving tax-payers dollars. Overall the Command (AETC) has done a remarkable job championing and embracing the C3 initiative," said Col. Charles Fiquett, director of AETC Financial Management. "Across all the wings and units in AETC there is now motivation and commitment to changing our cultural mindset of the way we spend money while accomplishing the mission, it is truly inspirational.
"Most of our wings are exceeding the challenge of $3 per day per person," he said. "It's great to see this kind of response from the wings. I'm excited to see what 2013 brings."
2/2/2013 3:28:58 PM ET A little effort goes a long way. Outstanding work Altus