Planning and programming summit focuses on “shared way forward”

  • Published
  • By Steve Warns
  • AFCEC Public Affairs

“Charting the Course – Together We Build the Future” was the theme of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Planning and Programming Summit July 18-20 in San Antonio.

The three-day summit brought together senior leaders from the Air Force Secretariat, Headquarters Air Force, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, major commands and primary subordinate units to address enterprise initiatives, key civil engineer programs, and planning and programming portfolio priorities going forward. 

Col. Dean Hartman, AFCEC director of planning and integration, said the summit is important for the Air Force enterprise as a whole.

“Given the significant changes in organizational structure and associated roles and responsibilities, coming together and having some face-to-face time to address key initiatives, portfolio priorities and the planning, programming and execution challenges that we’re facing becomes even more important,” Hartman said. “We have an opportunity to sit down, leverage all of this expertise across our functional community, dive into programs and processes and do some problem solving.”

The diversity of topics was impressive, ranging from state of the installation and mission support portfolio, to installation health assessment, to enterprise planning process, to operations and maintenance project programming. 

Edwin Oshiba, Deputy Director of Civil Engineers at Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, said when it comes to planning and integration, Air Force engineers need to learn to not fixate on simply making better decisions, but need to learn to make faster decisions.

“As engineers we tend to focus on the math equation,” Oshiba said. “But I ask you to challenge the math equation. Don’t be overly focused on numbers and values. How perfect does perfect need to be to make a decision? We have some explaining to do in simple language exactly to the things that we as engineers provide in terms of air, space and cyberspace combat power. That’s our job to articulate that whenever we can to whomever we can.”

Mark Correll, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure, addressed economic analysis and how to make it a more effective decision tool.

“We’re going to go down a different road that says what do the dollars say is the right answer,” Correll said. “It’s evident to me the economic analysis comes after the fact and that it’s meant to justify the construction decision that was already made, and that’s not OK. What we will be working with the FM (financial management) folks to try and change that paradigm, particularly associated with these weighted backers that are essentially intended to appear to give you the answer to where you want to go even if the numbers don’t show that.”

Randy Brown, AFCEC director, praised the Planning and Integration directorate.

“Without good planning, you can’t have good execution,” Brown said. “I think what you do is extremely difficult. We’re going to continue to push for ways to make it easier on you. Part of this summit is how can we help you? If we don’t have the bandwidth to plan better, we will never get better at execution.”