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Small AFIMSC team to have big impact on Air Force field communications

  • Published
  • By Debbie Aragon
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – A small AFIMSC team of self-proclaimed “nerds” are busy setting the ground work to ensure mission and emergency communications infrastructure are synched, updated and funded for Department of the Air Force mission success today and in the future.

The new Land Mobile Radio Product Management Office, part of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Installation Support Directorate, is focused on delivering enterprise-wide LMR capabilities whether during day-to-day operations or an emergency.

00:48
VIDEO | 00:48 | Establishing policy with LMR systems ... we have to get this right!

The Air and Space Forces use LMRs in a wide variety of mission areas, from security forces at installation entrance gates to fire departments, commander’s net, civil engineering and airfield management … anyone with a requirement for active voice radio communications uses LMRs, said Richard Lapierre, LMR PMO chief.

Established in October 2021, the LMR PMO delivers enterprise-wide, resilient and secure LMR capabilities to Airmen and Guardians, Lapierre said.

“We’re in the process of establishing the DAF policy regarding LMR systems and end-user subscribers, and it’s daunting because we have to make sure we get this right,” said Dave Anthony, one of two PMO plans and policy experts. “We’re laying the groundwork as the first ever LMR PMO -- designing and establishing all of those internal process mechanisms that can withstand the test of time -- and we’re happy to do it.”
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VIDEO | 01:51 | Identifying LMR deficiencies, cost savings and offer increased capability!

As with any new organization, most days are filled with meetings, collaboration, research and writing to develop a foundation. 

“We spend a lot of time in correspondence and communication,” said Scott Fritts, Anthony’s plans and policy teammate. “… attending Department of Defense and DAF communication working groups, trying to get the background and standards together that we have to follow and finding out where the Air Force LMR will go in the future.” 

The team is also working with stakeholders at major commands and installations, he added. 

The LMR PMO is identifying primary stakeholders and users for a functional user group community that will help baseline definitions and requirements, Lapierre said. 

In addition to Lapierre, Anthony and Fritts, Bernardo Salas, a telecommunications specialist, joined the team a few months ago. Lapierre is also in the process of hiring an architectural engineer and cyber security lead to round out the six-person team. 

Connecting in the current COVID environment can be difficult for established teams, let alone a young team like Lapierre’s. 

The team mostly uses virtual tools to stay connected, but occasionally makes time to meet in person to collaborate or solve issues.

“When we’re able to have in person meetings, it really helps to get a sense of the team,” Salas said. 

“You can’t really put a face to an icon on Teams so I initially thought Dave had hair to his shoulders and Rich probably had a comb over so it’s nice to get a face going,” he joked.

“We have a good dynamic and I like it,” Lapierre added. “We all attempt to insert humor where we can but I think we’re all just a bunch of nerds, a product of our environment in the techie world.”

Together, the LMR PMO techies are excited about the unique opportunity they’ve been given. 

“There’s a lot of process, policy, and building the foundation for success, but there’s the potential for improving capabilities and major cost savings which was the driving force behind the PMO,” Lapierre said. “We’re spending more than $500 million across the five-year execution plan and we’re looking at potentially cutting that in half with 80% of that savings or cost reductions going back to mission partners.”

“Obviously there’s a lot of hurdles we need to jump over and get to the finish line but … we’re going to the moon like Elon Musk says,” Anthony added.

(Editor’s note: Interested in being a part of the functional users group? Email Lapierre and his team at afimsc.izcs.daflmrpmo@us.af.mil)