DAF calls for AFMC changes to support service’s readiness, agility against great power adversaries

  • Published
  • Air Force Materiel Command

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – As part of the Department of the Air Force’s sweeping efforts to deter and, if needed, prevail in an era of Great Power Competition, DAF senior leaders announced four organizational changes to Air Force Materiel Command during an opening speech Feb. 12 at the AFA Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado.

“We need these changes now; we are out of time to reoptimize our forces to meet the strategic challenges in a time of Great Power Competition,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said.

DAF senior leaders outlined changes to AFMC as part of the service’s 24 key decisions designed to meet the challenges of a changing threat environment, keep the force competitive, and enact urgent change. The announced decisions are broadly grouped into four categories – Develop People, Generate Readiness, Project Power and Develop Capabilities.

“With the pace of change of both the adversary and technology, we can no longer afford to move slowly,” said Gen. David Allvin, Air Force chief of staff. “And if you want to move fast and coherently, you have to be in unison. You have to be integrated.”

Part of this reoptimization focuses on the DAF’s ability to produce and sustain essential warfighting capabilities at the speed and scale required to succeed. AFMC’s role and subsequent actions fall primarily within the Develop Capabilities focus area, and to a lesser extent, the Generate Readiness focus area.

“The secretary and the chief recognized the need to provide a cost-effective and affordable pipeline of competitive warfighting capabilities. To be effective partners with the operational community in this process, AFMC must make changes in terms of how we work with operators to define requirements, and how we develop, deliver, and sustain weapons systems,” said Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, commander of AFMC. “The changes we’re making are focused on how to organize acquisition-related functions, work in partnership with operational and DAF leadership to optimize technology transition, and integrate new product pipelines, all with an emphasis on maintaining technological superiority against a peer competitor. Getting requirements right is the key to any successful acquisition program.”

Success in today’s strategic environment also demands not just integration within a weapons system within a functional major command, but also horizontal integration – integration across all weapons systems and across all MAJCOMs, and even across all services, especially our sibling Space Force, Richardson said.

Changes to AFMC directed by the DAF include creation of a new office within AFMC headquarters; establishment of three systems centers, to include the standup of a new center; and changes to two of the six existing AFMC centers.  Each systems center will be the Air Force’s "Center of Excellence" for its particular area of expertise.

To manage these changes, most personnel adjustments will include in-place realignment or matrixing individuals to different organizations or centers.

Details of the changes include the following:

Stand up the Integrated Development Office: AFMC’s IDO will support early integrated capability development planning and ensure requirements development is informed by technological opportunity and risk.  As requirements are defined, the IDO will work with the systems centers and Air Force Research Laboratory to ensure continuous pipelines of competitive technology development and with the program executive officers, or PEOs, to structure execution-ready programs of record for transition to, and management by, the PEOs and program offices within the AFMC systems centers. The IDO will be responsible for defining and overseeing early systems acquisition prototyping, experimentation and mission engineering; executing enterprise-focused and integrated early systems engineering and systems acquisition; and applying the technical architectures developed and managed by the three systems centers.

  • Stand up the Air Force Information Dominance Systems Center: This new center will consolidate and increase focus on information dominance capabilities: Command, Control, Communications, and Battle Management; Cyber; Electronic Warfare; Information Systems; and Enterprise Digital Infrastructure. Establishment of the center will follow traditional Air Force processes. There will be minimal impact to the program offices designated to become part of this center, as personnel are expected to re-align in place.

Within the AFIDSC, the following PEO actions will occur:

  • The center commander will be the DAF PEO Command, Control, Communications, and Battle Management.
  • PEO Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks will become PEO Cyber and Networks, with a revised portfolio.
  • PEO Digital will become PEO Electronic Systems, with a revised portfolio.
  • PEO Business Enterprise Systems will remain the same.

Evolve the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center: AFLCMC will be re-designated as the Air Force Air Dominance Systems Center, reflecting the portfolio focus on aircraft, conventional weapons, and associated systems, with an elevated emphasis on readiness through enterprise product support. The center’s headquarters will remain where it is and there will be minimal impact to personnel.

Within the AFADSC, the following PEO actions will occur:

  • The center commander will be the PEO for Combat Readiness, which merges all programs from PEO Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO), select programs from PEO Agile Combat Support and other enterprise product support duties.
  • PEO Mobility and Training Aircraft will be separated into PEO Mobility and PEO Training.
  • A dedicated PEO Propulsion will be established with a holistic, integrated versus platform-specific focus.
  • PEO Fighters and Advanced Aircraft will remain the same.
  • PEO Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Special Operations Forces will gain the E-3 AWACS, E-7 Wedgetail, E-8 JSTARS, and E-9A aircraft platforms.
  • PEO Bombers will remain the same for now with the option to expand in the future.
  • PEO Presidential and Executive Airpower will remain the same.
  • PEO Weapons will remain the same.
  • Expand the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center: AFNWC will become the Air Force Nuclear Systems Center, focused on the foundational strategic deterrent role of the nuclear mission and importance of nuclear modernization and integration.  The Center’s headquarters will remain where it is with minimal impact to personnel.

Within the AFNSC, the following PEO actions will occur:

  • The center commander will be the PEO for Nuclear Air Delivered Systems and the Nuclear Materiel Manager for the DAF.
  • A two-star general officer will be established as PEO for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
  • PEO Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications will remain the same.

The other four AFMC Centers – Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Test Center, Air Force Sustainment Center and Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center – remain largely unchanged in structure and mission but will adjust as needed to meet stakeholder needs as other organizations in AFMC and DAF reorganize and refocus around GPC requirements.

Another organizational change discussed by senior leaders at the AFA Air Warfare Symposium was the establishment of an Integrated Capabilities Command (ICC). This is one of the ways the Air Force plans to get after the need for a strong pipeline of competitive warfighting capabilities. AFMC would partner closely with the ICC, primarily through the IDO, to ensure requirements development is informed by technological opportunity and risk.

“These changes are all driven by the need to do new product definition, development, and support as an integrated and continuously improving whole in a much more intentional way to stand up to the intensity of our peer competition challenge,” said Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and Service Acquisition Executive.  

Timelines for implementation will vary and more information will be released as plans are confirmed, but the intent is to move forward as quickly as possible.  As Kendall repeatedly says – “We are out of time.”

For more information about the announced 24 changes across the Air Force and Space Force, click here.