Lieutenant General Andrew Busch
M.S. Acquisition Logistics, 1990
Lt. Gen. Andrew E. Busch is Vice Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The command employs some 80,000 people and manages $60 billion annually in research, development, test and evaluation, while providing the acquisition management services and logistics support required to develop, procure, and sustain Air Force weapon systems.
“AFIT delivers really critical skills for the AF. My opinion on that is unchanged from when I was a student at AFIT, to now as a Lieutenant General as I watch the volume of young men and women who go through AFIT today.”
General Busch earned a master’s degree in acquisition logistics from AFIT in 1990. His research focused on two-level maintenance. Now, the community’s focus is on its successor called Repair Network Integration. “…We still have the same issue of how we disperse repair locations and how we manage risk to war plans. It is exactly what I was immersed in when I did my master’s thesis.”
But for General Busch, the major take away from his time at AFIT wasn’t his research outcomes, but the process to accomplish very large projects. He described his thesis as “… a year long process that, for me, was the most rigorous thing I had ever done as a student.” It’s a skill set that he relies on today. “The process of writing the introduction, conducting the literature searches, laying out the data collections, building an overall plan, are things that I still think about today as we start long projects – and you know you better have put some effort into it upfront. Even though we call it different things, to a certain extent, the things that you do as a senior leader are very similar in complexity – especially in the ability, or inability, to recover from a mistake if you don’t properly lay out your plan.”
A fond memory General Busch has of his time at AFIT relates to the academic pre-screening skills tests that current students continue to undergo. He recalls his academic advisor telling him that he didn’t do well on the writing skills portion of the test and he was required to take a remedial class before starting his program. “I thought, ‘This is horrible, I just got here and I am already flunking out.’ When I walked into the “Bonehead English” class on the first day, all the other logistics officers were in there with me! We died laughing at the thought that we were all in this course. It broke the ice and made the whole year go much, much better. We still talk about it to this day!”
He advises current AFIT students to work hard and remember that the “…investment in yourself to get an advanced degree will always pay off in some form or fashion – even if it is not as immediately apparent to you as you would think.”