General Dynamics wins Air Force Smart Ops 21 deal

The Air Force's Air Combat Command has awarded a five-year, $28 million contract to General Dynamics Corp. to provide transformation and continuous process improvement support to the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century effort.

Under the contract, General Dynamics will provide on-site support for implementing an AFSO21 culture with the combatant command at its headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, Va.; Shaw AFB, S.C.; Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; and Davis-Montham AFB, Tucson.

Changing the culture to reflect AFSO21 specifically refers to General Dynamics helping the Air Combat Command to implement lean and SixSigma tools to drive waste out of processes, said Bob Anderl, senior director for industrial and business operations at the company's information technology unit.

"There are several tasks on the contract that kind of walk through how ... you attack waste on a cultural basis and try to change the way people do and react to things on a long-term basis," Anderl said. "This includes upfront planning, and training is key, both in the fundamentals of lean and also in leadership development and engaging the leadership at the highest levels."

General Dynamics also has been to eight other Air Combat Command bases to provide training and facilitate lean events, as part of the Air Force's goal to implement lean practices servicewide.

"While [this] is top-down driven, it's bottom-up executed," Anderl said. "Changing the culture is getting those folks in the flight line, in the back shops, that process all the paperwork, to claim ownership of those processes, and in doing so identifying waste and eliminating it. Consulting and mentoring are [part] of this because the Air Force is interested in developing an organic capability" for change.

General Dynamics of Falls Church, Va., has 81,000 employees and had annual sales of $24.1 billion in 2006. The company ranks No. 4 on Washington Technology's 2006 Top 100 list of the largest federal IT contractors. The 2007 Top 100 list is due out May 14.

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