by Airman 1st Class Tom Brading
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs
3/7/2013 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- When
people hear the term "green belt," it's common to think of martial
arts. However, a 437th Airlift Wing master sergeant didn't break any
boards to obtain his green belt qualification. In fact, the
qualification itself has nothing to do with karate.
Master Sgt. Gregory Butler, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Air
Force Special Operations of the 21st Century program manager, continues
improving mission capabilities after being recognized as a qualified
AFSO21 Green Belt Facilitator March 5, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston -
Air Base, S.C.
As a qualified green belt, Butler has a skilled understanding on where
costs can be cut, processes streamlined and his squadron's service
improved. He is also able to organize and manage teams when needed as a
facilitator and oversee the process.
Before obtaining his AFSO21 Green Belt Facilitator Qualification, Butler
completed a series of requirements designed to ensure the most
qualified individuals are properly trained and are able to facilitate
any event properly.
The first requirement was completion of Lean Awareness training,
creating a solid foundation for Lean Processes, which help individuals
understand the overall impact of how to improve a business. The course
is taught within the civilian sector and has been adopted by the
Department of Defense.
After grasping a solid understanding of Lean Processes, Butler became a
certified Lean Awareness instructor, mastering the ability to
competently provide training during an improvement initiative.
Other requirements include a five-day training course over green belt
facilitating, observing an improvement initiative facilitated by an
AFSO21 Green or Black Belt qualified facilitator, followed by
co-facilitating with a qualified individual. The final step is
facilitating a situation without assistance from a co-facilitator and
being evaluated by an AFSO21 Black Belt qualified facilitator.
AFSO21 focuses on generating efficiencies and improving combat
capability across the Air Force. In addition, it is applied to every
process associated with the Air Force mission, from the flight line to
The program is organized and governed by AFSO21 facilitators, like
Butler, and the improvement techniques' primary goal is to significantly
increase combat capabilities, generate savings and maintain safety. The
capabilities enable Airmen to change their day-to-day operating style
to integrate continuous improvement into the full spectrum of the Air
According to Butler, even good processes can be made better and some of the most innovative ideas come from the youngest Airmen.
"Airmen enter the military with fresh ideas," said Butler. "Their
ability to find solutions to problems has been proven. My job is to take
their ideas, manage teams and implement the ideas."
AFSO21 has five primary goals that contribute toward improving the Air
Force. Airmen generating ideas should know the goals when generating
efficiency and money saving ideas. The AFSO21 Five Desired Effects
1. Increase productivity of our people - doing more of the right things with the same or less effort
2. Increase critical equipment availability rates - all assets available
at a greater rate from aircraft, to information technology, to range
3. Improve response time and agility - quicker response time to the warfighter
4. Sustain safe and reliable operations - reduce injury rates, increase safety and safe use of material assets
5. Improve energy efficiency - make energy conservation a consideration in everything we do
"The smallest idea, from the youngest Airmen can still make the biggest
impact across the Air Force," said Butler. "Airmen with innovative ideas
should bring them to their leadership's attention, eliminating aspects
of Airmen's jobs they don't have to do will help gain process
efficiencies with fewer resources and increase our mission