AMC Fuel Efficiency Division marks 5-Year milestone|
Posted 11/6/2013 Updated 11/6/2013
by Master Sgt. Jerome C. Baysmore
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
11/6/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Nowadays, a nickel can't buy much but the number five can go a long way in regards to Air Mobility Command.
AMC Fuel Efficiency Division officials marked October 17 as the 5-year anniversary of their standup and start of proposed and implemented fuel savings initiatives during this energy action month.
Frederick Turcotte, AMC A3F contractor and one of the pioneers in the office, said their origins began from a 2008 increase of fuel cost.
"It started from a big spike in fuel prices in 2008--costs almost doubled--and because it caused such a higher expenditure, Air Force leadership looked at the Mobility Air Forces because the biggest bill was ours," he said.
In an earlier energy action month story, Kathy Ferguson, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Logistics noted the Air Force spent $9.2 billion on energy, almost 10 percent of the total budget in fiscal year 2012. In a time of fiscal uncertainty, it is even more important everyone does their part in helping conserve resources.
"Energy is a key part of the effort to modernize our Air Force and do more with less," Ferguson said. "Every gallon of fuel and watt of energy we save allows us to have more resources to meet other Air Force priorities."
Turcotte emphasized, conserving energy--namely focusing on fuel efficiency--is what A3F was created to do.
"We put together a team of subject matter experts to create the AMC model," he said. "As noted from industry experts, fuel is a major cost factor for any fleet and AMC looked to the commercial airline industry for best practices for reducing fuel use and costs."
As a result, the Fuel Efficiency Division--a team comprised primarily of contractors and Reserve Component officers with logistics and commercial airline experience--developed the tools, processes, metrics and organizational interfaces to lead the implementation of aviation fuel conservation improvements within the MAF. Current goals set by the Secretary of the Air Force are to improve aviation fuel efficiency 10 percent by 2020.
"No one had the capability to track fuel usage the way we needed," said Lt. Col Laura Radley, AMC A3F Outreach Branch Chief "We had to figure out what information was already out there and work to develop more capability to get an accurate and full analysis of our fuel usage.
"Our first goal was to reduce our 2006-baseline fuel usage 10 percent by 2015."
That event, Charles Stiles, AMC A3F contractor, said was already met in 2012.
Stiles also explained the need to first compile MAF fuel consumption and usage data because it was the foundation on how to develop fuel efficiency efforts. Once this data-gathering process was developed, it allowed AMC to assess new potential opportunities for fuel reduction and measure the success of implemented fuel-saving initiatives.
"We're up to 70 fuel-saving initiatives that we've reviewed to date," Stiles said. "We've compiled the best practices from both the air and ground support crews to help us stem our fuel costs. Sometimes, it was just simple things like policy changes."
Radley added their main focus is on six major areas: policy, planning, execution, maintenance, science and technology, and fuel-efficient aircraft systems.
For example, AMC instituted several initiatives to decrease fuel consumption through aircraft weight reduction by removing excess equipment and supplies. This initiative alone has saved the MAF $7.5M since 2011. In fiscal year 2012, implemented fuel initiatives saved or avoided more than 28 million gallons of aviation fuel. At prices well over $3 per gallon, that is a lot of money.
And it won't stop there. The division helps shape the Air Force vision for fuel efficiency, which derived from the 2010 Air Force Energy Plan to reduce demand, increase supply, and culture change.
Col. Keith Boone, AMC A3F Division Chief, emphasized the importance of culture change in fuel efficiency.
"It's just like recycling," he said. "When it first started and before it took hold, people looked at you strangely when you did it. Now, they look at you that same way if you're not recycling."
He said they use a two-aspect approach to fuel efficiency: an 'up-and-out' perspective by supporting senior leaders to share the message of fuel efficiency and advocate for more resources; and a 'down-and-in' tactic to energize unit-level leaders - Wing, Group, Squadron, and Aircraft Commanders and flight-line supervisors. For example, his staff provides fuel efficiency education to new aircraft commanders at AMC's Global Reach Aircraft Commander Course.
The Fuel Efficiency Division calculates and tracks up-to-date fuel savings from all of its current initiatives. Currently, 14 energy saving measures, such as excess equipment removal and software upgrades, have saved or avoided 21.7 million gallons of fuel or about $81 million. Other policy changes and measures used in the deployed theater have avoided an additional $135 million.
"Ultimately, it's about executing our mission without increasing the burden on taxpayers," Col Boone said. "We're helping the Air Force move from the status-quo to an energy-aware mindset across the full spectrum of air mobility operations."
Boone added that the idea of fuel efficiency has roots at least as far back as 1976 with a pamphlet titled "Birds Fly Free, MAC [AMC] Doesn't." MAC commander, General P.K. Carlton, directed the command to exercise opportunities to conserve fuel when operationally feasible.
"This is a cultural issue at heart," he said. "We're going back, re-learning, redoing, and implementing lessons we've discovered before. We cannot afford to return to wasteful practices. Efficiency and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive - in fact, we can improve our combat capabilities through being more efficient. That's why we have a staff dedicated to the success of this effort as well as process improvement.
"We're in the constant business of gathering ideas--it's not just AMC; it's not just active-duty," Boone said. "This is the power of networking: to reach out to others as part of a vast matrix of energy aware professionals, to save resources which can result in improved combat capability for the Department of Defense."