Requirements and acquisition division takes shape
By John Burt, AFCEC Public Affairs
/ Published September 11, 2013
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- On Oct. 1, 2013, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center will launch the new research and acquisition division within its readiness directorate. Recently, AFCEC members hosted a rapid improvement event to define its specific functions.
"The R&A division will ensure that the Air Force Civil Engineer has the ability to develop and implement new technology and systems to address contingency airbase and fixed-base capabilities," said Jim Hurly, airbase acquisitions branch chief. "It will address the full spectrum from opening, sustaining, protecting and recovering the base. The goal of the RIE was to make sure that we are clearly developing our roles and responsibilities and to begin to craft coinciding business practices."
"Engineers have always been good at reacting and responding with urgency and solving today's problems," said Col. Douglas Hardman, AFCEC's readiness director. "The R&A division provides that forward-looking element to take a look at our strategic and operational gaps and our urgent operational needs and subsequently develop capabilities for the CE enterprise to meet national military strategy."
Part of AFCEC's Readiness Directorate, the R&A division will manage the full life-cycle of airbase systems -- those individual components needed to create a functioning airbase and build efficient, effective infrastructure. These capabilities transfer back to civil engineering after being conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory here since the early 1990s. Focus areas include explosive ordnance disposal, airfield damage repair, expeditionary facilities and utilities, and fire emergency services, but will look at the entire CE-enterprise and beyond for future needs.
The transfer of the research, development and acquisition role from AFRL not only brings a wealth of talented professionals to the AFCEC team, but some unique facilities and equipment as well. Sky 10, for example, is a 23-acre site east of Tyndall used for explosive research. Described as a "national asset" by explosive experts, this area has the capacity to simulate detonations of up to 1,000 pounds to measure effects on structures and building materials.
AFCEC will also manage the Air Force's Fire Research Facility which includes one of only six JP-8 fueled fire training pits in the Department of Defense. This site has been integral in the field of fire research over the past few years. It was here the Air Force developed and tested ultra-high pressure firefighting technology that has been fielded through the P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicle and will be used in future firefighting applications.
Held in late August, RIE participants included Air Combat Command, members of the Secretary of the Air Force's office for acquisition and office for installations and energy, as well as other AFCEC directorates. The event outlined the planning, programming and budgeting process for the new division and defined how the new entity will fit in the Air Force structure.
"There is still a lot of follow-on work to do," said Hurley. "When complete, the new R&A division will ensure the CE community will be positioned to deliver critical airbase capabilities against new and emerging threats, now and in the future."