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AFMC exemplifies ‘Powering Possibility’

  • Published
  • By Zion Dillahunt
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Department of the Air Force launched a new "Powering Possibility" campaign during October’s Energy Action Month, and the Air Force Materiel Command is already working hard to help reach the service goals.

Powering Possibility is a three-year campaign that recognizes the emerging impact climate change can have on mission, and highlights the Department’s forward-looking approach to energy innovation and powering the future force.

“Energy is an essential resource we depend on every day,” said Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, AFMC commander, in the 2022 AFMC Energy Campaign Plan. Energy refers to electricity, natural gas, water, and fuel, as well as generated resources such as steam, chilled water, and compressed air. “We need to ensure installation energy systems can provide a mission-appropriate level of assurance.”

Complex challenges including a competitive operating environment, accelerating climate change, adversarial cyber threats, and a changing geopolitical landscape all threaten DAF energy systems and infrastructure, which can lead to disruptions in getting the energy needed for the mission.

“We are completely aligned with the Powering Possibility three-year plan,” said David Fort, Energy Program Manager at AFMC. “The nature of the AFMC warfighter support mission requires us to move faster than the rest of the Air Force is required to move.”

The AFMC Energy Assurance Campaign Plan helps to achieve mission success through five Lines of Effort: Optimized Systems and Processes, Cyber-Resilient Control Systems, Mission-Matched Capabilities, Reliable and Managed Infrastructure, and System Performance Assurance.

Optimized Systems and Processes drive AFMC to become more efficient by optimizing mission demand for energy and to reduce, if not eliminate, waste.

Cyber security improves energy control systems to make them more resilient to intrusion and to neutralize any cyber threats.

“We look at missions and what they need energy-wise to continue to be successful, and we look at the risks and vulnerabilities of our energy systems and infrastructure.  We then improve these systems to assure we can meet mission requirements for energy assurance. This may lead to a new energy asset on the installation to provide improvement," said Fort.

Mission-matched capabilities require AFMC to determine if energy systems can meet mission requirements when commercial sources of energy are lost. 

“We want to ensure we have energy available when and where it is needed.  That can mean we add additional energy generation capabilities and/or find better ways to control the distribution of energy to the mission,” said Fort.

Reliable and Managed Infrastructure helps ensure that each installation energy system is complete enough and sustained in a manner that enables mission assurance. This requires AFMC teams to monitor at-risk factors like faulty switches, bad circuits, or potential overloads.

AFMC enterprise efforts also include installation energy activities. Installations are put through various exercises to exemplify mission readiness, which relates to the LOE of System Performance Assurance.

“We do that by shutting down power systems. We examine how our backup systems and prime power systems perform to ensure that we can sustain the mission,” said Fort. “We are also looking at it from the standpoint of constructing smart buildings that are efficient with multi-use energy sources. This is guided by principles that are rooted in consuming no more energy than you generate. “

The goal to remain energy efficient will always be important to AFMC. Whether it is installation or operational energy, AFMC uses LOEs to create consistency in every aspect.

Leadership engagement at AFMC has also led to the fast track of energy efforts.

The AFMC Energy Assurance Steering Group is overseen by Richardson along with several senior leaders who lead the path for energy development. Once every three months the EASG meets to discuss energy usage.

“We have leadership engagement at the highest level; we have commanders in the field who understand what they do, and why they need to do it. We also have great support from other organizations like the Air Force Civil Engineer Center,” said Fort.

AFMC will continue to adhere to the Powering Possibility campaign to ensure mission success. Smart energy use is key to the future.