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NEWS | Dec. 9, 2013

502nd ABW transforms organizational structure to streamline support functions

By Lori Newman JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs

The 502nd Air Base Wing held a transformation ceremony Dec. 3 to recognize its new organizational structure.

The transformation restructures the 8,000-person 502nd ABW to improve command and control, simplify operations and reduce overhead across functional support areas.

"Over the past three-plus years since we reached full operating capability, the men and women of the 502nd Air Base Wing have worked diligently to provide installation support and service at the largest joint base in the Department of Defense," said Brig. Gen. Bob LaBrutta, Joint Base San Antonio and 502nd ABW commander.

The blueprint for joint basing wasn't specific and the way ahead wasn't always clear, explained LaBrutta. "In fact, you could say that joint bases were designed to be innovative and a work in progress."

Brig. Gen. Theresa C. Carter, the second JBSA/502nd ABW commander, realized the traditional wing structure was neither efficient nor effective.

The former commander said the wing was operating in triplicate and was slow to respond to the customer's needs. Positions were being eliminated and JBSA was still operating as three separate installations and resources and assets needed to support the missions could not be transferred between locations.

Carter made a "bold decision" to reorganize the wing from a traditional structure into a functional structure, LaBrutta said.

To help solve these issues a new organizational structure was formed to streamline support functions into a single organization while retaining critical customer service centers at each location.

"Her vision and efforts are the catalyst that brought us here this morning," LaBrutta said. "As the third 502nd ABW commander, I am honored to propel this organization forward to the next level in our journey, in our evolution.

"It is so important that we fine tune our structure and our processes within the wing so that we can provide premier installation support and service to the mission partners who depend on us so they can concentrate on executing their critical missions in defense of our nation," LaBrutta said.

The new structure realigns command and responsibly under functional support groups. It removes additional integration steps currently necessary at the wing level, enhances responsiveness and allows implementation of consistent processes and procedures across JBSA.

During the ceremony the 502nd, 802nd and 902nd Mission Support Group squadrons inactivated to make way for the new functional structure. Following the inactivation, new groups were activated.

The 502nd Mission Support Group is redesignated as the 502nd Force Support Group at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

The 502nd Force Support Group includes two force support squadrons, with one focused on morale, welfare and recreation, which includes fitness, child and youth programs and community and student activity centers. The other is focused on personnel and manpower policies/procedures, mlitary and family readiness, dining facilities and lodging.

The 802nd Mission Support Group was redesignated as the 502nd Installation Support Group at JBSA-Lackland.

The 502nd Installation Support Group consolidates and provides civil engineering; communications and operations support squadron functions and sustainment across JBSA. Airfield operations support will be limited to JBSA-Lackland.

The 902nd Mission Support Group was redesignated as the 502nd Security Forces and Logistics Support Group at JBSA-Randolph.

The 502nd Security Forces and Logistics Support Group now includes one logistics readiness squadron, three security forces squadrons and a trainer development squadron.

Three contracting squadrons merge into one squadron and three comptroller squadrons also merge into one.

"Hundreds of people put in countless hours of effort in analyzing and developing this restructure and coordinating it with our mission partners, higher headquarters and air staff," LaBrutta said.

"We are doing something fundamentally different," LaBrutta added. "We are now organized in a functional vice traditional structure--the first that I know of in the Department of Defense."

"I firmly believe that through this action, the 502nd Air Base Wing is formally organized the way that provides us the best opportunity to achieve our vision ... to provide premier installation support to our more than 200 mission partners and 80,000 professionals who come onto Joint Base San Antonio each and every day," the general said.