Commander: Reorganization going well at Robins

wcrenshaw@macon.comSeptember 19, 2012 

Air Force Materiel Command is just days away from the official launch of its reorganization, and the top leader at Robins Air Force Base says the base is ready.

Brig. Gen. Cedric George, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, made that assessment while speaking at the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce’s Good Morning Macon event at the Douglass Theatre on Wednesday.

All of the units associated with the reorganization were formed this summer, including the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, but Oct. 1 has been designated the initial operating capability date. The reorganization reduces the number of centers in Air Force Materiel Command from 12 to five, with maintenance operations at Robins reporting to the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Program managers report to the Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

George said there were some initial “growing pains” after the complex was established, but he said those issues are being resolved, and the base is ready.

“We have been planning this for about a year, so we really got a running start,” George said. “What we see already is the integration of supply and maintenance, which is something we have been trying to do.”

He said a key benefit of the reorganization is that the three maintenance depots will adopt standard processes, rather than each doing things its own way. The best practices from each base were used to implement a standard for the depots, he said.

He also said the base is on track for a milestone in its turnaround in on-time delivery of aircraft. About two years ago the base was completing less than half of its aircraft on time, but with less than two weeks left in the fiscal year, George said the base should finish the year with a 98 percent on-time delivery rate.

Also speaking at the event were Col. Mitchel Butikofer, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, and Col. Joseph Scherrer, commander of the 689th Combat Communications Wing. Each talked about their organizations and the scope of the work they do.

The first question from the audience concerned the impact of sequestration on Robins. Sequestration refers to automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to take place starting Jan. 2 over 10 years. The immediate impact for Robins would be an 11 percent cut in military spending.

While careful not to come down on any political side of the thorny issue, George said the base will deal with whatever sequestration may bring.

“Sequestration is going to be a challenge for us,” he said. “We are going to work our way through it. No matter what they end up with, we will execute it. We will adjust to whatever our policy makers decide and work through it.”

Scherrer outlined his wing’s role in the Air Force, including the work of the 5th Combat Communications Group, which sets up communications for combat commanders and establishes airports in combat zones. However, an increasing role of communications units is the war in cyberspace, and the mission to defend the military’s cyber communications networks from technological attack.

“I’m here to tell you this game has totally changed, and as we go into a war in the future, cyber conflict is going to be part of it,” he said. “We as the most technologically dependent nation on Earth, have to be concerned about this type of thing.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

Brig. Gen. Cedric D. George, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, talks with members of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce

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