WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base officials announced Wednesday that the Air Force is beginning the process to identify and establish partnerships with private sector and local government agencies.
“We’re very excited to be announcing that we’ll be kicking off a new initiative this year at WPAFB called the Air Force Community Partnership Initiative,” said 88th Air Base Wing commander, Col. Cassie Barlow.
During this process, installation and public/private sector community leaders can develop creative ways to leverage their capabilities and resources to reduce costs or reduce risks by finding shared value.
“As budgets continue to decrease the Air Force is looking for alternative ways to support its mission and to really maintain the quality of life that we’re used to for our airmen and for their family members,” Barlow said. “One approach to doing this is by exploring partnership opportunities with community stakeholders…It’s all about leveraging resources to reduce costs and to find shared values.”
According to Col. Barlow, the Secretary of the Air Force Installations, Environment and Logistics office will be walking the Air Force bases through their procedure for establishing these relations. There is also new legislation to help provide the authorities for the Department of Defense to enter into these shared service agreements.
“We already have some great relationships throughout the Miami Valley and this is a way of making those relationships even stronger, for us to rely on each other and make the base less of an island,” said Barlow. “This is something that’s going on across the Air Force and across the Department of Defense to decrease costs and become more efficient.”
These stakeholders can include any of the 29 local municipalities, the state of Ohio, colleges and universities, private sector companies and local businesses, local developers, or anyone in the Miami Valley interested in entering a shared interest partnership with the base.
“We have a very similar mission to a lot of our municipalities in the local area and we have a lot in common, so we can help each other,” Barlow said. “You’ll probably be hearing through the community of all of the meetings and events that we’ve got going on…We’re excited about it and we’re looking forward to it.”
One example of the type of community relationships the base has already established is the enhanced use lease with Kettering Medical Center for the Hyperbaric chamber. WPAFB also partners with the local colleges, universities and hospitals for graduate medical education.
“We have medical students and nursing students from the local area that come onto base and get clinical experiences at our hospital,” Barlow said.
A shared municipal service the base is exploring is salt purchasing.
“All the local municipalities need to buy salt and so do we. If we do it together there are potentially some shared costs that would reduce costs for us,” said Barlow.
Community partners will be invited to a meeting Feb. 20 to learn about the public/private partnerships and about enhanced use leases. Base officials will also share some of the general goals for the new initiative over the next few years.
Editor Amanda Crowe may be reached at 937-878-3993 ext. 134.