WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Air Force Materiel Command officials notified center commanders May 11, that Air Force headquarters has approved converting the command structure from wings, groups and squadrons to directorates, divisions and branches. The targeted implementation date for these organizational changes is June 30.
The e-mail notification to center commanders included an extensive list of wings, groups and squadrons that will be either inactivated, activated or re-designated.
The move follows an Air Force senior leadership decision to standardize the size of wings, groups and squadrons across the Air Force. Wings now must contain 1,000 or more members; groups, 400; and squadrons, 35. As a result, many wings, groups, and squadrons at AFMC centers will be inactivated, and replaced by new directorates, divisions and branches, which do not have mandatory minimum manning thresholds.
"Most of our acquisition units were not large enough to maintain the appropriate wing, group and squadron designations," said Gen. Donald Hoffman, AFMC commander. "Combining units to meet the size thresholds would have been major surgery and would have buried senior acquisition leadership at the squadron level or below."
Along with changing from wings to directorates, Air Force officials have also created several new program executive officer slots. PEOs, senior officials responsible for acquisition program execution, will be leading many of the directorates at AFMC product centers.
With this reorganization, all of AFMC's centers will see some changes. AFMC planners say the realignment is "manpower neutral," meaning no net gain or loss of jobs will occur.
AFMC planners don't have answers yet to every question that civilian and military members may have about potential personal impacts, but they said they will keep the information flowing as the change process plays out.
AFMC centers with acquisition organizations that will be restructured to directorates, divisions and branches are:
SBltaCAir Armament Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., excluding the 46th Test Wing
SBltaCAeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
SBltaCElectronics Systems Center, Hanscom AFB, Mass.
SBltaCArnold Engineering and Development Center, Arnold AFB, Tenn.
SBltaCAir Force Security Assistance Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
At the Air Logistics centers, the remaining combat custainment wings will be inactivated with resources realigned to other local AFMC organizations. In addition, the ALC aerospace/aircraft sustainment wings are planned to be inactivated and replaced with aerospace sustainment directorates. The ALCs, which are large industrial facilities responsible for maintenance and sustainment of aircraft and other systems, are located at Robins AFB, Ga.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Hill AFB. Maintenance wings at these locations will be unaffected.
The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will retain its 498th Nuclear Systems Wing, but some groups and squadrons within the center will be inactivated.
The decision to standardize the size of wings, groups and squadrons was announced by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in a service-wide memo Sept. 3.
The memo, signed by both leaders, makes clear that realigning organizations under a directorate/division/branch structure is driven by one of five goals from the Acquisition Improvement Plan the secretary and chief announced in May 2009. The full text of the memo is available online at www.af.mil.
Hoffman said this change will involve a total command-wide effort, but it will generate several benefits.
Furthermore, AFMC planners said the realignment is not a simple return to organizational designations AFMC officials once used before they adopted the wing structure.
The goal that underlies the realignment is to establish clear lines of authority and accountability within acquisition organizations, according to the secretary's and chief's memo.