The U.S. Air Force is embarking on a major transformation of its in-house foodservices operations to give them more of a college commons atmosphere. Manpower, Personnel and Services has identified the transformation of on-base dining facilities, clubs and snack bars serving airmen and their families as its highest priority initiative.
By integrating dining facilities and nonappropriated fund food operations, the Air Force Food Transformation Initiative will offer enhanced food quality, variety and availability, including additional healthy choices that support the Air Force's continuous emphasis on fitness and overall well being. Other changes will include convenient locations with hours of operation aligned with customer needs, an improved community-oriented atmosphere and a continued focus on home base and war fighting feeding capabilities.
"The Air Force has a long tradition of taking care of its Airmen," says Charles Milam, director of services for Manpower, Personnel and Services. “By providing enhanced facilities with more food choices that include more nutritionally balanced meals and are available to more people, we are helping Airmen and their families succeed personally and professionally."
In addition to the benefits for Airmen, officials implementing the Initiative hope to improve workforce morale and productivity, restore a sense of community, and improve efficiency. Currently, Air Force food services specialists operate more than 270 dining facilities and flight kitchens and more than 300 nonappropriated fund food and beverage operations, such as golf course and bowling center snack bars and clubs. During fiscal 2008, more than 91 million meals moved through the dining facilities and flight kitchens, and NAF food and beverage operations generated more than $193 million in sales.
"As with any Air Force program, we constantly look to see where we need to focus our attention and to make certain that we give the best service with our available resources,” says Milam. “We can do that by giving the best product to our Airmen, providing more diverse training to our fighting force and supporting the Air Force community."
Six bases are slated to pilot the food transformation initiative in fiscal 2010. They include Elmendorf (AK) Air Force Base, Patrick (FL) AFB, MacDill (FL) AFB, Fairchild (WA) AFB, Little Rock (AR) AFB and Travis (CA) AFB. Depending on each base's site survey results, Airmen may see projects ranging from significant expansion of food offerings to minor face lifts. Future implementation at additional bases will be considered based on the results at the pilot bases.