Air Force picks San Antonio to centralize its base support functions

L ast July, the Air Force announced it would be moving toward an enterprise approach for several of its management functions as part of a major restructuring effort that also called for a downsizing of the civilian workforce.

As part of the shakeup, the service decided to create a single organization in charge of providing support functions on its military bases around the world, rather than letting major commands handle things themselves. But that organization hasn’t had a full staff or a permanent headquarters until now.

The new Installation and Mission Support Center will be based at Joint Base San Antonio, the Air Force announced this week — disappointing other contenders in the communities around Scott AFB in Illinois, Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia and Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

Part of the rationale, the Air Force said Thursday, was that about half of the employees who will work under the new center’s chain of command are already based at San Antonio. Roughly 350 other positions in other parts of the country will be relocated to Texas, but the transition will take time: the Air Force doesn’t expect all of the new headquarters staff to be in place until fall 2016.

The Air Force created the center in response to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s directive to reduce DoD-wide headquarters staff levels by 20 percent. It will try to centralize several functions that the Air Force felt were being handled redundantly and inefficiently by major commands around the country, including civil engineering, policing, contracting for base services, morale programs and military pay and accounting support.

This post is part of Jared Serbu’s Inside the DoD Reporter’s Notebook feature. Read more from this edition of Jared’s Notebook.