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AFIT/LS plays important role in formalization of Air Force Life Cycle Risk Management process
Posted: 01/06/2009 by AFIT Public Affairs

Risk Management (RM) is an integral part of your everyday life, whether performed consciously or subconsciously. You perform RM when you get in the car and drive to work, when you go out with friends, or even when the doctor tells you that the solution to your 10-month-old child’s rash is some cream and time running around without a diaper. The Air Force recognized the value of RM long ago and implemented a six-stage process of Operational Risk Management (ORM), designed to systematically manage risks for all personnel and functions both on and off duty. However, while the value of ORM is clear, its application does not directly translate to RM for acquisition programs, which are focused on a system’s life cycle. And while the benefit of incorporating RM within the acquisition process was apparent to both DoD and the Air Force, there was no standardized RM process in place for applying it. Fortunately, the value of standardization was recognized by senior leadership through the Develop & Sustain Warfighting Systems initiative. In March 2008, a team was stood up to perform just such a task—and the pursuit of standardizing the Air Force’s new Life Cycle Risk Management (LCRM) process was underway!

The team consisted of representatives from each of the Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Product and Logistic Centers, SAF/AQ, Air Combat Command, and faculty from AFIT’s School of Systems and Logistics. After meeting monthly through September 2008, the team hammered out an LCRM policy memorandum that Ms. Sue Payton, SAF/AQ, signed on 4 Nov 08. This memorandum will have far-reaching impacts on AF policy, to include AFI 63-101, Operations of Capabilities Based Acquisition Systems, and AFPAM 63-128, Guide to Acquisition and Sustainment Life Cycle Management. Highlights from the new LCRM policy include:

  • Guidance applicable to all Acquisition Category, pre-milestone/key decision point B, and Services Category I and II programs across the system life cycle
  • Requirement of a Risk Management Plan, though the format is not mandated
  • Use of a standardized 5x5 matrix with standard consequence and likelihood definitions to analyze program risks
  • Requirement to track all identified risks and associated handling/mitigation actions in a database (specific database not mandated)
  • Requirement to present all moderate and high risks using the standardized 5x5 matrix as part of program, technical, and Milestone decision reviews or to support Key Decision Points with risk handling/mitigation plans prepared for each risk

The School of Systems and Logistics’ involvement in the development of the new LCRM guidance will translate into Profession Continuing Education course updates that ensure Air Force acquisition professionals are equipped to apply a standardized LCRM process throughout the life cycle of an acquisition program.

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