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A4 enables DoD personnel, equipment to get from point ‘a’ to ‘b’

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
Air Mobility Command's A4 Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection Directorate is the air beneath the wings of mobility air forces.

This isn't in reference to the song or a bird, but to a mission that would otherwise be impossible.

"A4 provides all the support it takes to fly," said Ms. Sara Keller, SES, A4 deputy director of logistics, engineering and force protection. "We are always there to move cargo, move people, maintain aircraft and provide security."

A4 is AMC's focal point for fulfilling the weapons system supplies requirements; air transportation and traffic management policy; and managing equipment to enable mobility Airmen's training and mission completion.

To ensure this mission's capability, A4 looks quarterly at the entire health of AMC's fleet to see how units are using manpower and resources and if they are training proficiently.

"The number one priority is to make sure AMC has enough aircraft to support the missions tasked by the air operations center from U.S. Transportation Command," said Col. Walter Isenhour, A4 associate director.

"The health of the fleet supports the Commander's Apportionment and Allocation Process which provides the combatant commanders the aircraft they need to make the mission happen. It also ensures there are enough aircraft available to train aircrews and maintainers."

In 2015 when the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center stood up, AMC/A4 gained some of AMC's civil engineering and force protection responsibilities.

"We are proud of the integration of these communities," said Keller. "We capitalized on the change and looked at it as an opportunity to excel."

Now, the Security Forces Division manages the integrated defense mission, detainee movement operations, Phoenix Ravens and the security forces guidance to support the U.S. Strategic Command nuclear mission. Also, AMC A4's Operations Division manages the expeditionary engineering planning and readiness of civil engineering.

Unit effectiveness is one of the directorate's priorities and accomplishments. A4 has been working hard to standardize inspections through the use of the Air Force Inspection System (AFIS). It started with the maintenance community but has spread across all of A4's disciplines.

"It's not a matter of failing units during inspections. Instead, it's a matter of holding them accountable for the job they are supposed to do, then helping them get to where they need to be, whether it's helping them understand data or focusing more on training," said Keller. "It's focused on maintaining quality assurance across all the career fields. We are on our fourth UEI, and it's starting to pay off."

Another AMC A4 priority is quality assurance. A4 manages MAF aircraft maintenance, policy, manpower and training for 1,171 aircraft at 58 worldwide locations, and 13,000 aircraft maintenance/munitions personnel. One of their goals is to merge transportation, supply, and maintenance quality assurance databases.

The directorate is in the process of developing a program called the Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA), modeled after a program by the same name developed by the commercial aviation industry.  During a LOSA, observers are imbedded into day-to-day logistics such as maintenance, transportation and aerial port operations.

When an individual is being inspected during a formal inspection, he or she performs much more methodically, and the resulting performance is not reflective of what occurs naturally in daily operations because they know they are being inspected. The idea of LOSA is for observers to witness actual real-world behavior. During a LOSA, the observers will blend into the background and eliminate the "inspector influence" that skews what inspectors see, thus providing a more accurate view of actual behavior, said Isenhour.

"LOSA evaluates a specific weapons system," said Isenhour. "Then AMC treats it as a safety investigation board, evaluating the data with recommendations on how potential mishaps from observed behavior could be prevented in the future. How do you discover issues that folks may not be willing to tell you? With LOSA, we will be observing to see how people interact and perform their duties, and to see if we can help them understand how their processes can work better with others, all from an experienced outsider's perspective."

Air Mobility Command utilizes the largest total force of all the Air Force commands. In order to ensure AMC is sustaining its total force enterprise, A4 began an initiative called "Team LRS" last year that co-located multiple active duty and Air Force Reserve logistics readiness squadrons located at the same base to increase effectiveness.

"It's about helping them work as a team to maximize utilization of equipment and resources," said Col. Betty Bullington, A4 mobilization assistant to the director. "By co-locating all the same units into one location, it maximizes knowledge and training without duplicating capabilities, which will allow units to be more effective."

So far, Team LRS has been implemented at Charleston, Fairchild, Scott, and Travis; next is McGuire.

A4 is focused on enhancing its 2022 vision of leading a ready and affordable logistics force in a joint world. There are many initiatives the directorate's seven divisions are working on this year that will contribute to their overall plan.

Keller said, "We [A4] have absorbed a lot of changes in 2015, but we have not missed a beat providing support to the wings when it comes to our A4 mission sets. This wouldn't have been possible without our total force partners."