JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The status of Air Force installation and mission support programs is now just a click away, thanks to the new Installation Health Assessment tool’s cloud analytics capability.
The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center first launched the IHA in 2017 as a first-of-its-kind, metrics-based framework to integrate information from authoritative databases across the I&MS enterprise.
“In the area of installation and mission support, the Air Force is leading the other military branches with IHA’s predictive analyses and data visualization,” said Dan Clark, AFIMSC IHA project manager. “Providing access to this information allows Air Force leadership to make data-driven advocacy or investment decisions in a more compressed decision-cycle.”
Marc Vandeveer, AFIMSC’s chief innovation officer, came up with the idea for the IHA as a way of enhancing Air Force efficiency.
“When AFIMSC first stood up in 2015, the Air Force issued a strategic planning guidance tasker that challenged us by asking, ‘How can we run our installations more effectively and efficiently?’” said Vandeveer, who also serves as the IHA program manager. “We got after it.”
One of the team’s first IHA goals was to leverage facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization data for more than 54,000 facilities to quantify the impact of years of budget shortages on infrastructure conditions. The team identified almost $24 billion in deferred maintenance Air Force-wide. As a result, AFIMSC was able to advocate for and obtain an addition $2 billion in the FSRM budget across the Future Year Defense Program, Vandeveer said.
While the tool initially focused on facility recapitalization and sustainment, it has since been expanded to include nine additional enterprise areas: protection, combat support, deployment and distribution, housing, facility operations, environmental, base communications, Airman and family services, and command support.
Combining data from multiple enterprise areas provides new insight on I&MS program performance, sustainment costs, modernization requirements and potential risks.
For example, a wing commander could use infrastructure degradation modeling to determine the best time to invest sustainment dollars on each facility. Additionally, the Air Force has already used the IHA to identify where small arms ranges could benefit from community partnerships and where the Air Force could eliminate ranges at some bases within close proximity to other training resources.
Until the cloud-based platform, access to the IHA was very limited. The recent move to the cloud is the result of a successful yearlong collaboration between AFIMSC and the Air Force’s Chief Data Office, and makes data readily available to anyone granted an account.
Access accounts are free for installation mission support groups, squadrons and flights; Headquarters Air Force and Secretary of the Air Force staff; major commands; and AFIMSC directorate staff and primary subordinate unit leaders and analysts. AFIMSC currently has 1,000 access licenses and 1,500 Tableau eLearning slots, and will add additional licenses as demand increases. To date, approximately 250 people have Data Lab accounts with over half at the installation level.
Additionally, because AFIMSC is the first to establish a cloud-based visualization platform, many pilot programs – including depot analysis, transportation working capital fund and life cycle management center -- have been granted access to share their analytics with key stakeholders.
“This is a win-win for the Air Force,” Clark said.
One of the installations benefitting from the tool is Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The base participated in a pilot study for AFIMSC to develop an installation dashboard that combines information from infrastructure software systems.
“The Air Force’s largest installation (Eglin) continues its mission to research, develop, test and evaluate the next generation of weapon systems using WWII-era facilities and infrastructure, most well beyond their service life,” said Col. John Schuliger, commander of the 96th Civil Engineer Group at Eglin.
“Decrepit facility conditions, as well as old configurations, are limiting factors to (research, development, test and evaluation) technological advances. The IHA provides us a tool to not only consolidate all civil engineering data into a single, analysis platform but also visually communicate the highest mission needs against facility conditions. The base now has the ability to proactively model a variety of investment strategies within IHA to determine the most beneficial investment sequence to assure combat readiness, lethality and Airmen resilience.”
AFIMSC plans to continually improve the IHA, with additional features and analyses being added regularly.
For example, work is underway to add access to Air Force Installation Contracting Center products and a deep-dive into base utility and energy utilization. AFIMSC is also collaborating with the Air Force Services Center, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and the Air Force Personnel Center to develop predictive analytics to offer advanced notice on demographic, facility and staff changes that affect child development center wait lists.
And the development team is receptive to user ideas for enhancing the tool.
“If you want to be a part of the coalition of the motivated, I want to work with you on gathering ideas on how to make this better,” Vandeveer said. “The stuff we are developing today is what I wish we had in the past to articulate how our mission was doing and how we were short on funds.”
For more information on the IHA program, including how to obtain access, contact the AFIMSC Innovation Office at AFIMSC.Innovation@us.af.mil.