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The Civil Engineer Transformation—What it means to CE’s customers

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- -- The Air Force faces significant budget challenges that require tough choices, innovative solutions and a new mindset. As a result, Air Force Civil Engineering is transforming how wing and combatant commanders are supported, in an effort to conduct installation support more efficiently and effectively. In order to do this, CE established the Operations Engineering Element within the Operations flight. This element is the focal point for receipt, processing and cradle-to-grave tracking of all base civil engineer work requests. It consists of engineers, planners and data analysts combining the best aspects of legacy customer service and planning, with new requirements and optimization capabilities.

The 21st CE Squadron is involved in many aspects of life on Peterson, and works hard to provide the necessities and comforts enjoyed every day. From base utilities, to Peterson's facilities and roads, 21st CES touches every mission. In fiscal year 2015, CE received more than 5,000 service calls, 48 event support requests, 85 digging permits, 68 utility outages and more than 600 facility projects. With a base population of more than 12,000 personnel and 200 facilities, maintaining this installation can be a daunting task. Civil Engineer Transformation ensures that mission requirements are met first within our limited resources. Under the CET initiative, and in preparation for a new IT system, a revised set of work priorities was introduced.

"We must prioritize our daily jobs in accordance with the new work order prioritization plan. By complying with this plan, we will be able to sustain our installation using asset management principles and move risk away from the mission," said Maj. Chris Bulson, 21 CES Operations Flight commander.

Constrained resources -manpower and money- drive the need to establish a model that classifies and prioritizes work that drives optimization while preserving our ability to sustain the installation. This work order prioritization model is paramount in transforming to a more asset management centric organization. The bottom line for CE customers is that responses to requirements will now be driven by mission needs and no longer by the Urgent and Routine (Seven and 30 day) suspense timelines.

There are many variances that determine which jobs are responded to first, so how will the new R&O section prioritize customer requests? The intent is to complete emergency requests within 24 hours, and resource preventive maintenance tasks before executing any scheduled sustainment and enhancement work. This allows scarce resources to be applied in a way that most effectively addresses life cycle management and mission priority.

Unscheduled emergency work is the first priority. This category represents immediate maintenance, safety, or mission risk and will always be accomplished before all other work and always holds the highest priority.

Priority number two consists of preventive maintenance. This category identifies, forecasts and aligns maintenance actions to manage mission risk, ensuring critical infrastructure components receive appropriate level of preventive maintenance to maximize the life cycle of existing equipment. As budget and manpower declines, risk to the mission must be minimized by keeping good equipment in great condition.

The third priority is sustainment-based corrective maintenance, like fixing things that are broken. The majority of customer-generated requests fall within this category, formerly known as urgent and routine requests. This work is divided into three sub-categories; Priority 3A, 3B and 3C. Priority 3A identifies tasks which have the potential for high risk of asset failure and, if left unattended, could become an emergency. Priority 3B is based on a medium risk to mission and will be responded to in an expedited manner to prevent failure. Priority 3C identifies tasks with the lowest risk to the mission.

CE will determine which building to work on first within each priority through the Priority Asset List. The PAL is a priority listing approved by the wing commander where facilities are ranked in four tiers, utilizing a facility's existing placement within the Contingency Response Plan and the Integrated Defense Plan, while factoring in its Mission Dependency Index. For Peterson AFB, 10 percent of facilities fall under Tier 1, 20 percent under Tier 2, 30 percent under Tier 3, and 40 percent under Tier 4.

The fourth priority is all enhancement work, or nice-to-have improvements, and is subdivided into two categories. Priority 4A is work orders for facility enhancement to include new mission requirement. Priority 4B are work orders classified as minor construction and/or require capitalization.

"We must transform to align our limited resources to the highest priorities and reduce risk to space missions," said Lt. Col. Chad Gemeinhardt, 21 CE commander. "The 21 SW approved PAL combined with the AF work order priorities will make this process happen at Team Peterson." 

The new work priorities are fundamental to this transformation. How work is prioritized and resources assigned changed, but the quality of work the 21 CES provides to the Peterson population and its tenants will be same. There are many changes ahead, but with the creation of the new OE element, CE will have the capability to focus efforts in reducing risk to the mission, to classify and prioritize work that drives optimization, and to improve the ability to sustain work centers and installations.

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