LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —
In order to generate cost savings and create efficiencies, Joint Base San Antonio recently consolidated two First Term Airmen Centers and has begun the process of merging two Airmen Leadership Schools.
The Lackland and Randolph Air Force Base FTACs combined resources in May with Lackland hosting the orientation classes for both bases. Lackland also became host for the combined ALS in early June.
"(The consolidations) follow why Joint Base San Antonio was created in the first place: to create cost savings and efficiencies," said Chief Master Sgt. Juan Lewis, 502nd Air Base Wing command chief. "The Department of Defense budget can't grow any more. We have to start consolidating."
The JBSA senior enlisted leader said it was cost efficient to combine the Lackland and Randolph FTACs. Lackland averages 60 students and two classes a month; Randolph averages six students every two months.
"Lackland is like a big restaurant that has all these empty seats just waiting on other folks to come inside," Chief Lewis said. "When I started looking at the Randolph FTAC classes, (I saw) it could easily be integrated into Lackland."
Staff Sgt. Joshua Biggs, Lackland FTAC NCO in charge, said the two entities overcame several challenges to create an efficient product for those Airmen in transition from technical training to their first duty assignment. The FTACs merged two separate registration websites on the Air Force network into one, and have integrated general and specific base information to meet the students' transition needs. In doing so, a networking benefit emerged from the consolidation.
"The main challenge was transportation, getting the Randolph students over here, but we worked that out," Sergeant Biggs said. "I think (the consolidation) was a good move because of the whole joint basing (concept). When I was stationed at Lackland before, the four years I was here, I never went to Randolph and never met anyone from there. Now that we've merged (the FTACs), I see the Airmen interacting with each other."
Chief Lewis said JBSA has begun combining the Lackland and Randolph ALS programs, which will come in phases. The first move in that direction came by holding one ALS graduation ceremony instead of two.
"We'll keep the schoolhouse at Lackland and the one at Randolph, but we'll move to one leadership," the chief said. "Eventually, the school at Randolph will close down and all the students will move to Lackland.
"Randolph normally runs only one flight, and (in the future) we can bring those instructors to Lackland and increase from one flight to two. We can train more Airmen, even put more civilians there, and the same support services at Randolph can easily be absorbed inside Lackland. I guarantee you the dollar (savings will be) very, very substantial."