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AEDC restructuring to provide clarity for future

By Jill Pickett, AEDC

Arnold Engineering Development Complex, headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee and with geographically separated units spread throughout the United States, is reorganizing how the Complex is structured with a goal of more effectively meeting the mission – “To prove the superiority of systems required to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy” – by pursuing three strategic goals: pursue mission excellence, invest in our people and sustain the complex.

Last fall, leaders of AEDC met during a Strategic Planning Conference to consider how to meet the demands of the NDS and create the “AEDC We Need.” As part of this effort, the leaders considered how to “most effectively apply wing- and squadron-level power to the mission,” including potentially altering the organizational structure, roles, responsibilities and authorities of AEDC and its people.

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After months of discussions and evaluations, leadership is moving forward with restructuring the Complex into three group-level organizations. There will be two Test Groups – the 704th Test Group and the Test Group at Arnold Air Force Base – and one Mission Support Group.

The Test Group at Arnold Air Force Base will be comprised of the sustainment and operational functions of the current Test Systems Sustainment and Test Operations Divisions. It will be called the Test Division until approval of conversion to a group by Headquarters Air Force. The Mission Support Group will be called the Test Support Division until conversion is approved.

In addition to the changes to the current divisions, some offices will move from the squadron level to the wing level.
“We anticipate that this merger will foster unity of command for more nimble operational decisions and comprehensive strategic planning,” said Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, AEDC commander, in an email to the workforce. “We also believe this will result in a more consistent and comprehensive focus on our national defense partners.”

While initially one of the goals was to organize like an Air Force Wing with subordinate units organized in preparation for conversion to groups and squadrons, another goal took precedence.

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“In these discussions, we fully acknowledged that every organizational structure has its own pros and cons, and no organization will be perfect,” Geraghty said. “Leaders evaluated dozens of different potential structures, including the status quo. We determined that clarifying the roles, responsibilities and authorities will be more important than the organizational structure itself.”

There were concerns, though, that without significant changes to the structure the task of defining roles, responsibilities and authorities would be less of a priority, and that was deemed unacceptable for the organization to meet the demands of the future.

“We must position ourselves to excel in a new and challenging environment that is very different than just a few years ago,” Geraghty said. “Continuing to operate under the assumptions and norms that evolved over the course of the past 70 years limits our ability to fully realize the potential of the dynamic and diverse nationwide organization that we are today.”

Discussions are ongoing to refine the new structure before it is implemented. The deadline for those efforts is June 22.
Geraghty invited input from the workforce concerning clarifying the roles, responsibilities and authorities, with a focus on the mission, as opposed to self, when so doing.

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“As always, thank you for your dedication to our extremely important mission to prove the superiority of the systems required to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy. Let’s ensure United States Air and Space Power remains ‘Second to None,’” Geraghty said in closing.

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