Air Force Sustainment Center head touts leadership

alopez@macon.comApril 21, 2014 

litchfield_lecture

Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield discusses the Air Force Sustainment Center’s leadership model during the 2014 Executive Lecture hosted Monday by Middle Georgia State College’s School of Business.

BEAU CABELL — bcabell@macon.com

Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield said Monday it takes courage to be an effective leader.

Litchfield, who oversees the Air Force Sustainment Center, which is made up of the air logistics complexes from Tinker, Hill and Robins Air Force bases, is responsible for more than 32,000 military and civilian personnel.

Under his leadership, Litchfield’s command increased the number of KC-135 aerial refueling aircrafts it can overhaul from 48 per year to 70 per year, he said Monday during a presentation at Middle Georgia State College’s School of Business.

His command also reduced from 226 days to 120 days the amount of time it takes for one plane to get through the maintenance overhaul process.

“And we did it at a cost reduction, not a cost increase,” Litchfield said. “So if I was in the private sector selling my stock and you bought stock in my company, you’d be rich.”

Litchfield presented a color chart that outlined the leadership model he began developing in the 1990s and put into place at the Air Force Sustainment Center in 2012. The largest areas in the chart focus on people, processes and resources. Goals under his leadership model include speed, safety, quality and cost effectiveness. The other model component involves creating a culture for success through teamwork, accountability, respect, transparency, credibility and engagement.

Litchfield said he wanted the lecture’s attendees to understand that their armed forces are committed to ensuring that the country has the best military capability fielded for the lowest cost possible.

In discussing teamwork, Litchfield used the Oklahoma City Thunder professional basketball team as an example.

The Thunder is a small-market team that competes at a high level despite having to work with a small payroll, he said.

He explained how the team’s previous coach was fired near the start of the 2008 season after a poor start, but the team went on to make the playoffs the next year with its new coach, Scott Brooks.

“What was the difference between the first coach and Scotty Brooks?” he asked. “One of them knew how to put a team together with discipline and one didn’t.”

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