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Air Force Reserve leaders train to fly, fight, win better using Space industry standards

EM-1 sits fully unwrapped, lifted and moved to the birdcage inside the O&C  Highbay.

Leaders of the 920th Rescue Wing had the opportunity to tour Lockheed Martin's Orion Facility, located at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, Feb. 9 as part of the wing's two-day Continuous Process Improvement Senior Leader Training course. This photo of the facility is courtesy of Lockheed Martin. (Photo/Bill White)

Leaders of the 920th Rescue Wing had the opportunity to tour Lockheed Martin's Orion Facility, located at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Feb. 9 as part of the wing's two-day Continuous Process Improvement Senior Leader Training course. This photo of the facility is courtesy of Lockheed Martin. (Photo/Bill White)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Leaders of the 920th Rescue Wing had the opportunity to step away from their units and take a look at how they do business with fresh eyes Feb. 8-9.

Twenty-seven commanders within the wing and its geographically separated units participated in the Continuous Process Improvement Senior Leader Training course, which included a day of classroom training and discussions, followed by an industry tour of Lockheed Martin's Orion Facility, located at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The Orion is set to be America’s next generation human spacecraft.

“This was such a great class for our leaders,” said Lt. Col. Bruno Gaita, 920th RQW CPI assistant program manager. “Finding ways to do things smarter and better is something we all need to be thinking about. Yes, gaining more people would be nice, but it’s not a reality. We need to be thinking about how we can use the resources and manpower we have to the best of our ability, which is a point that was really driven home to our leaders during the tour of the Orion Facility.

One observation of the visit was mastering accessibility. Having all the tools necessary to accomplish the job located virtually at their fingertips allows spacecraft engineers to shave countless minutes from traveling back and forth to a master toolkit.
“No time is wasted. It may sound small, but that back-and-forth travel time can really add up. In retrospect, the possibilities within our wing are endless and our commanders saw the importance of one minor adjustment to the minutia,” he said.

According to Gaita, the Course provided our leaders with an overview of how CPI is used to define problems; measure, manage, and monitor performance; then strategically align those items with organizational goals, objectives and project selection. The course introduced leaders to CPI concepts and used the industry tour to provide first-hand exposure to the CPI mindset and implementation.

Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th RQW commander, the importance of CPI. "Continuous Process Improvement should become a natural part of our wing culture; enabling us to produce the best combat rescue forces in the Air Force," he said. "I'm not talking about doing 'events' for the sake of doing the 'CPI thing,' I'm talking about looking for more ways to streamline burdensome or outdated processes or requirements that take time away from our ability to fly, fight and win."

"As a Reserve organization we have very limited time to accomplish realistic training in our military jobs," he continued. "By learning, understanding, and absorbing what CPI can do for us, we can find ways to give time back to our Citizen Airmen who want nothing more than to do what they've volunteered to do... train for their part of the mission.

"I can tell you, no one signed up to do computer based training and additional duties. When you think about what it really means to make CPI part of the culture, think about how it can help you to free up more time. And then with that time, using it toward mission training priorities that will ensure the readiness of our Airmen in the skies above, and on the battlefield."