New Director Looking to Take Air Force’s Partnership Program to the Next Level
After reaching a major achievement last month, the Air Force Community Partnership (AFCP) program is expected to continue growing with a new focus on initiatives with higher returns on investment, says the program’s new director.
While the partnership program is “doing phenomenally well,” the service has started to concentrate on initiatives that can be implemented across a variety of installations and that can generate a higher payoff for the Air Force as well as the community, Teran Judd, director of community partnership and encroachment, told On Base.
Since the program started three years ago, most of the community-military partnership initiatives have been smaller projects, explained Judd, who assumed his post in June, replacing Steve Zander. The partnership program’s first foray into projects with greater returns has focused on small arms ranges, partially because most bases have them, Judd said.
The Air Force is conducting test projects with small arms ranges at several bases to see if establishing a joint use facility for the military and local law enforcement is the kind of partnership that can be expanded across the service.
Along with placing a priority on initiatives with a higher return, the service is striving to identify partnerships that would work across the Air Force, or at least across a segment of the service’s installations.
By taking initiatives that are successful in one community and applying them to others, the service’s goal is “to see if we can grow the program … bring it to a new level,” Judd said.
The AFCP program reached one new level last month when the savings generated by the initiatives it helped create since fiscal 2013 surpassed direct spending on the program for the first time. The program so far has produced a total of $32.5 million in savings, $2.1 million more than the Air Force has spent on it.
“It’s a huge milestone. … To be in the black after three years is fantastic,” Judd said. Partnership agreements in the pipeline are estimated to generate an additional $15 million in net savings, he added.
To date, the 53 installations participating in the AFCP program have reached agreements on more than 200 partnership initiatives with their host communities. Two more bases have committed to joining the program, and another two are discussing the prospect, said Judd, who previously was a branch chief in the service’s strategic basing office.
One of Judd’s chief aims is reenergizing the AFCP program. About 70 percent of the service’s installations are participating in the program, but enthusiasm at a number of locations has died down over the past three years, he said.
“A lot of my job is reaching out to mission support commanders,” he said.
Going forward, Judd wants more partnership initiatives to take advantage of the statute authorizing installations and their host communities to enter into intergovernmental support agreements (IGSAs). Most initiatives that have been developed so far have not used that authority, he explained.
“I think you’ll see that in the future, a lot more IGSA initiatives [will be] coming out of the program,” Judd said.
Partnerships using intergovernmental support agreements typically would cover public works and related functions, but they can involve other activities as well. “It can be [any] agreement with a municipality to develop what is best. It just makes so much sense to use this authority,” Judd said.
One of the primary benefits of the authority is the ability to work directly with a municipality rather than going through a procurement process, allowing agreements to be reached much more quickly, he said.
Just four months into the job, Judd said he has many reasons to be excited. “I feel extremely positive about the program. There are so many things we’re looking to try to roll out over the next year or two — a lot of different initiatives,” he said.