AFSO21 - Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Andrea Lamoreaux
  • 319th Air Refueling Wing AFSO21
AFSO21 - Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century...What is it all about?
AFSO21 is a management concept. You may have heard about the numerous tools of AFSO21 such as value stream mapping and rapid improvement events. Those tools can be very helpful, but the way AFSO21 really works is through management.

Management, from the top down, involves several key principles. The first principle is basing management decisions with a long-term vision. A vision is imperative to ensure an entire organization knows where it is headed. For example, the wing creates a vision, then the groups, squadrons and flights develop visions that support the overall wing. With this cascading effect of information, every airman has a plan of how to improve and what they need to do on a daily basis to make themselves and the wing improve.

The organization's journey to achieve its vision is equally important. When leadership evaluates the current state of their organization and compares it to the future state represented by the vision, many opportunities for improvement surface. These opportunities should be addressed by leadership, but the suggestions for improvement should bubble up from the lowest level. The people at the lowest level are the subject matter experts since they work their processes on a daily basis. Therefore, they know the best ways to improve their process.

There are teams actively running RIEs at Grand Forks AFB today. The 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is involved with improving their technical order book and aircrew debrief processes. The 319th Maintenance Operation Squadron scheduling office is currently working to improve their aircraft scheduling process. The 319th Maintenance Group training team completed their RIE two weeks ago and will save 5,768 duty days once their plan is implemented streamlining their ancillary and in-processing training. The 319th Medical Group RIE is working to improve their medical profile process and is currently collecting data.

If you want to learn more about AFSO21 please visit the GFAFB AFSO21 Community of Practice page at