New AFLCMC commander talks upcoming challenges, recent successes at State of the Center

  • Published
  • By Patty Welsh
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.Lt. Gen. Donna D. Shipton, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander, spoke about why the Air Force will be re-optimizing and the Air Force Operational Imperatives during a “State of the Center” address, Feb. 5, in Burlington, Massachusetts.

After talking about her background, including previous assignments, Shipton, who became AFLCMC commander in December 2023, said she’s “definitely people and mission focused.”

“You’ll find that throughout our Center,” she said. “Certainly all of our programs are mission focused; it’s all about the capability we can provide to the nation and our warfighters, and we will maintain that focus going forward.”

While discussing the Great Power Competition, Shipton highlighted a quote from Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, “Change is hard; losing is unacceptable.”

She said China is investing more in its defense budget and over time their gross domestic product is anticipated to be in parity with the U.S., if not exceeding it. She also mentioned China’s cycle time, saying they get their systems through development and fielding in half the time as the U.S. Shipton said China got their J-20 aircraft from beginning development to first flight in five years, while the F-35 took the U.S. nine years.

Mentioning the conflicts in Ukraine and in the Middle East, Shipton said not only do we need to be prepared for the Great Power Competition but “everything else that could potentially happen in our world.”

Showing charts on the OIs, the commander said those are still very much a focus of the SECAF, the work is still ongoing and has set the stage for a number of new programs.

Highlighting where different organizations and program executive offices support the various OIs, including those within the Center, she added, “There are pieces of almost every OI that has some tie to the workforce that is here [at Hanscom AFB] and to the programs that are here, and that’s very critical for moving forward.”

Shipton said that horizonal integration between the organizations and programs is also going to be vital for success.

Other topics included recent Hanscom AFB accomplishments from the Digital and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorates, along with the 66th Air Base Group, including the May 2023 Hanscom hiring event. The Center is planning to have 10 hiring events this calendar year, including another one in the Hanscom AFB area.

Increasing work with small businesses was also mentioned, especially those in Massachusetts and in the Northeast.

The event was hosted by the Lexington-Concord Chapter of AFCEA and attendees included industry and academic representatives, along with local civic leaders, and Shipton thanked them for working collaboratively with Hanscom AFB.

“The Hanscom team is benefitting from all these partnerships,” she said. “Through these partnerships you help us move forward.”

A video of the event is available below: