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Virtual forum brings the logistics community together with Air Force senior leaders

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE (AFLCMC), Ohio --

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center held its second Annual AFLCMC Program Support Manager Forum, which ran from July 14-16. 

Due to COVID-19, this year’s event was held virtually and drew over 200 participants from across the center.
 
The Air Force Materiel Command Commander Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. provided the forum’s opening keynote address.
 
“What we do in this Command is our wartime mission, every day. We never know when what we are doing will be called upon for our Nation's bidding. Whether it’s a contract action, forming a product support strategy, or the myriad of other tasks our logistics professionals perform on behalf of the American people, all that we do needs to be done with a sense of urgency,” said Bunch.
 
He also stressed that the community’s work needs to be done with a of sense speed, but also with a sense of discipline.
 
“We can't rush into something without understanding how we are going to sustain it,” Bunch said.

Along with the keynote address, the three-day event featured daily breakout sessions tailored to different disciplines across the community and included discussions detailing current initiatives such as: the Air Force’s Digital Campaign, additive manufacturing, CBM+, along with several others.  
 
Highlights during the forum included a panel discussion comprised of program executive officers from across the center, and presentations from other Air Force senior leaders.
 
Dan Fri, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection at Headquarters, Air Force, and who had served as the F-35 program support manager, shared lessons learned and tips from his experience as the PSM on the largest ever acquisition program in Department of Defense. 

"The PSM Forum is a critical piece of our communication strategy with our product support managers and logistics leaders in our program offices, and this year’s event was a virtual home run," said Lansen Conley, AFLCMC Director of Logistics & Logistics Services Directorate.
 
"PSMs have a statutory responsibility to ensure their program has a comprehensive, dynamic, and executable product support strategy that considers costs and supportability over the lifecycle. This is a tremendous responsibility given many of our programs can have a 30 plus year lifecycle,” he added.
Conley explained that the forum was an opportunity for senior leaders, across the Air Force, to communicate priorities, share experiences and suggestions; and to build relationships with our PSMs.
 
“This year’s event was tailor-made for AFLCMC PSMs. Senior leaders from Defense Acquisition University, the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Headquarters, Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, AFLCMC, and Air Force Sustainment Center outlined their expectations, priorities and vision,” said Conley.
 
During her address, Angela Tymofichuk, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Logistics and Product Support, explained that digital engineering has the potential to vastly change the way the Department of Defense does business from design through sustainment, and that the logistics community needs to embrace it.
 
“By challenging traditional approaches and seeking innovative ways to benefit program product support strategies, we can make the transition to digitized sustainment,” she said.
 
The AFLCMC Commander, Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, charged the community to lead, explain and develop.
 
Lead by bringing clarity to the chaos, McMurry explained.
 
“The acquisition community is really good at telling folks what they think, but they’re not really good at telling them why. Explaining ‘the why’ is an important part of the process,” he said.
 
Developing yourself, your team in terms of unity of process and your individual team members are critical components of mission success, explained McMurry.

Dr. Michael A. Bayer, Professor of Life Cycle Logistics Management at the Defense Acquisition University moderated the three-day event.
 
“I think the virtual PSM Forum was a big success, and I might add that many, to include speakers, attendees, and even some hosting the event, had doubts starting out,” said Bayer.
 
“From the feedback I am receiving, all have agreed that it was a very effective way to host the event and should be a consideration in the future,” he explained.
 
“Where else could you have Gen. Bunch, Lt. Gen. McMurry, Mr. Fri, Ms. Tymofichuk, Mr. Kobren, DAU, a three-member PEO panel along with over 200 attendees, all able to participate from their office or telework location without having to travel,” Bayer exclaimed.
 
“The forum was very well done! And, I am proud to have been a part of it,” he said.