- Press Release
- Nov 29, 2022
AFSPC members tackle risky business
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – There’s been a lot of talk about risk at Air Force Space Command lately, but it has nothing to do with the stock market.
It’s all about safety.
Risk-reducing practices from three AFSPC units are highlighted in a recent Air Force-wide review of Operational Risk Management procedures by the Air Force Inspection Agency.
In all, four of the 17 ìbest practicesî cited in the recent report were from AFSPC.
F.E. Warren and Vandenberg AFBs and the security forces directorate at AFSPC were each singled-out for their ideas.
F.E. Warren AFB led the command with two mentions. The first was for the creation of a Driver Risk Assessment Worksheet for missile alert or launch facility travel. Ratings are assigned to personnel, vehicle and mission factors to compute an overall risk factor score. The score is paired with a rating on road conditions to determine the approval authority for the travel.
“With our people driving more than 17 million miles each year traveling to and from duty at the missile sites, this was a natural area of concern for us, and a good place for us to focus, ” said Col. John Stocker, chief of safety for 20th Air Force.
In a similar vein, the base also developed a pre-departure safety briefing and risk assessment worksheet for supervisors to use when approving leave or TDY travel. The worksheet prompts discussion of risk control measures, rightfully expanding the ORM concept to include off-station activities.
Vandenberg was highlighted for an innovative training program using on- and off-duty ORM scenarios at its first-term airmen center and for arming its unit ORM advisers with checklists to implement ORM in their organizations.
“The inspectors like our FTAC briefing because we put application to ORM. The new airmen have learned about the process in basic training and at their tech school, but we have them run through a scenario of a road trip to Las Vegas,” said Capt. Tim Zacharias, chief of flight safety for the 30th Space Wing.
Zacharias said the scenario is usually good for a few laughs and ultimately gets across the point that you need to think about the ‘what ifs’ when you travel.
The security forces directorate at AFSPC headquarters was lauded for its promotion of ORM not only by discussing it at MAJCOM SF conferences, but for providing SF commanders with an Asset Risk Management model to help installations prioritize force protection requirements.
Col. Sameul Dick, AFSPC chief of safety, said the ideas presented in the report will be examined for application command-wide.
ìThe command is looking for good ideas to implement,î he said. ìThe report indicated that, despite being in existence in the Air Force since 1996, the program hasn't developed enough and needs to be given a higher priority.
“Like most commands we have some work ahead of us, but we think we have some good starting points. Four of the Air Force’s best practices came from our command and that’s an impressive foundation to build on.”
The first step, Dick said, lies in making people understand what ORM is — and isn’t.
“There are two big conceptual obstacles we need to overcome,” he said. “First, people have a tendency to view ORM as only applying to operations. The second is that people think of it as a safety program.”
ORM is more than being about preventing injury or loss of property, said Dick. It is a mindset and applies both to on-duty and off-duty tasks.
The Air Force utilizes ORM with a six-step approach: 1. Identify the hazards; 2. Assess the risks; 3. Analyze risk control measures; 4. Make control decisions; 5. Implement risk controls; and 6. Supervise and review.
Dick says people probably subconsciously employ a shorter, less-formal approach, which is fine, too.
The idea, Dick said, is to just get people to thinking about the potential consequences of all the activities they engage in — and soon.
“The benefit in doing so outweighs the risks,î he said. “And, after all, that is the whole idea.”