Strengthening Air, Space Force installations takes center stage at summit

  • Published
  • By Shannon Carabajal
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO - Nearly 200 Air and Space Force installation leaders gathered in San Antonio April 11-13 for the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center 2023 Mission Support Leaders' Summit.

Maj. Gen. John Allen, AFIMSC commander, talks about bringing mission support leaders to San Antonio for the 2023 AFIMSC Mission Support Leaders' Summit.
With a theme of "Strengthening the Department of the Air Force's Power Projection Platforms," the summit fostered collaboration as the group discussed trends and issues impacting the installation and mission support community.

"Our installations are power projection platforms, wherever they may be. We deploy power - air power, space power - from installations," said Sam Grable, director of the AFIMSC Installation Support Directorate. "We have to make sure that we use every resource we are given by the taxpayer to best effect, to make sure that those power projection platforms - our installations - have the things that they need, the services that they need, to support Airmen, Guardians and their families."

The summit's agenda was shaped by input from the mission support commanders, directors and senior enlisted leaders in attendance to make sure the event delivered the most important, relevant information to them, said Maj. Keith Manry, the summit project officer and a staff chaplain with the AFIMSC Chaplain Corps Division.

"Gathering together in a forum like this allows us to identify and tackle tough issues that are on everyone's minds," he said. "There is power in the collective processing of issues facing the installation and mission support enterprise."

AFIMSC executes more than 150 centralized capabilities for DAF installations and commanders including civil engineering, communications, contracting, financial management, logistics readiness, security forces and services programs. With AFIMSC senior leaders, staff and subject matter experts on hand to provide insight and answers to questions or concerns from attendees, the summit featured a wide variety of topics from across these areas.

Sessions included budget and facility sustainment, restoration and modernization portfolio updates; community partnerships; joint basing; investment strategies; base operations support and contracts; programs for organizing, training and equipping the field; and more.

Mission support leaders from around the Air Force talk about the 2023 AFIMSC Mission Support Leaders' Summit.
“This conference gave me a level of education that I really didn’t have,” said Chief Master Sgt. Gloria Wilson, 375th Mission Support Group senior enlisted leader, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

Hearing from SMEs from across the diverse mission sets, “versus trying to figure it out on your own,” will help her better lead the Airmen in her mission support group, she said. But the most valuable part of the summit for Wilson was the opportunity to talk with other leaders across the installation and mission support enterprise. 

“I think the networking piece is what’s most important because we get things done by talking to each other,” she said. 

“Nothing compares to life experiences. Hearing what we should do is different than hearing from someone who actually lived through it,” she said. “Those experiences are invaluable.”

The event marked the first in-person summit in four years due to the COVID pandemic. 

"This is about getting back together," said Maj. Gen. John Allen, AFIMSC commander.

"The business of doing installation and mission support is a team sport," he said, involving AFIMSC, DAF leadership and, most importantly, the installation and mission support leaders in the field closest to the problems we're trying to solve.

"We're talking about groups of people - leaders in the field - who have very full days. That they could take the opportunity to come down here and spend quality time with the team talking about hard problems is important," Allen said. "I'm really thankful that they're here."