Through Airmen's Eyes: Team Dover Airman improves process

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The appointment letter process is sometimes a difficult process, plaguing Airmen with redundancies, errors, disorganization, and time waste. This may all soon end because of one Team Dover Airman who created a new process that may soon spread throughout the Air Force and possibly the entire Department of Defense.

Senior Airman Ryan Lee, 436th Communications Squadron knowledge operations manager, has increased theefficiency of the appointment letter process by creating a new process using the Appointment Letter Management Tool (ALMT).

"You don't have to invest money to make something better," said Lee. "You just have to fix the way it is being done."

Before the implementation of the ALMT, the old appointment letter process had many faults and inefficiencies. When a commander would elect to assign a task or additional duty, or delegate authority to a specific Airman, regardless of the Airman's rank, an appointment letter would have to be completed. For this to be done, whoever's job it was to find and assign an Airman, usually not the commander himself or herself, would have to find a qualified individual and an assignment letter template, if one existed.

The assigned Airman would then fill out all the detailed information on the letter and print out a physical copy. A routing slip would then be assigned and the letter would be placed into a folder in order for it to move up the chain-of-command for approval.

This seems simple enough, but in practice, it was not. Appointment letters could be found sitting on desks collecting dust for days, weeks and even months. Time waste was a real issue. Also, if an appointment letter contained an error, it would be fired back to its origin, restarting the entire procedure. Finally, when a change-of-command would take place, it was impossible to locate all appointment letters without physically searching, in order to update the letters with the new commander's information.

The new process is completely digital and paperless, saving both time and money. Base-specific templates have been created and can be accessed from a template library. Now, all that is done is copying-and-pasting the information from the template and adding in the name and specifics of the individual being appointed. A digital routing slip is added and the appointment letter is sent up the chain-of-command within a matter of seconds.

Lee's new process has cut time waste staggeringly by an estimated 98 percent, more than the old process.

"The new process is much better in my opinion," Lee said.

According to Lee's supervisor, Mark Munoz, 436th CS knowledge operations chief, aspark of innovation and thinking outside of the box led to Lee's success. Many tools have been created and have spread outside of Dover AFB from the work that Lee has started, said Munoz.

"We are extremely proud of Ryan's accomplishments," said Munoz. "The ALMT is being sought by different bases and different major commands for implementation."

Lee's new ALMT process caught the eye of Lt. Gen. Stephen Mueller, Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General, during his visit to Dover AFB in January. Lt. Gen. Mueller sponsored Lee to travel to the Pentagon and brief high-ranking Air Force officials on the ALMT and its success. Lt. Gen. Mueller hopes that the ALMT process will be implemented Air Force-wide.

"It was a challenge for Lee, being at a base level, to start developing these types of new processes and systems," said 1st Lt. Carlos Rodriguez, 436th CS plans and implementations flight commander. "Especially since hehad to go through so many Air Force agencies and headquarters to give their OKs, it took Lee a year to complete this new process."

For his work and accomplishments, Lee has also been nominated for the 2014 Spring Military Information Technology Leadership Award, presented by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Washington, D.C. chapter. The criteria and eligibility for this award is that a successful nominee must have been member of the U.S. Armed Services, either reservist or active duty, between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013, and made a "significant contribution to their fellow warfighter through the use of information technology".Lee is currently waiting for the results of this award.

Lee, who is from Enon, Ohio, is leaving active duty and joining the Air Force Reserve via the Palace Chase program. He will be leaving for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio in June.