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Behind the Lines: Robins commander plans for future workload at Air Logistics Complex

Brigadier General Jennifer Hammerstedt says WR-ALC employees will eventually have to work on newer weapons systems with more technology.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Brigadier General Jennifer Hammerstedt took command of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in July 2020.

She says a main area of focus the last six months has been maintaining high standards for the current work at the ALC while also planning for the possibility of new workloads and missions.

"We want to be ready for that future requirement, whatever it is," she said. "We want to be a place that can support that future fight, so we have to be good at what we do today so we can do that in the future."

She leads a team of nearly 8,000 employees. She says she's confident they have enough people to handle any new projects and doesn't anticipate any major hiring pushes in the near future.

"What we're looking at right now is do we have the right mix of people," Hammerstedt said.

She says with more technology integrated into the newer weapons systems, the WR-ALC must have employees who can handle the newer models, but who also have experience with the current work being done on older models like the F-15 and C-130.

Both planes have newer models on the horizon and General Hammerstedt says that work will eventually come to Robins. Meanwhile, she says software work on base continues to grow at an exponential pace.

She says she recently launched an effort to explore the training process to make sure employees are prepared and ready for the changes.

"When we talk about modernizing, we talk about or facilities, our equipment. We talk about all the hardware, we talk about the stuff. Well, we've added kind of a fifth element to that which is, 'What does the technician of the future look like? How do we need to be preparing our work force that we have today for that future workload?'," she said.

She says new and continued partnerships with universities and businesses in central Georgia and across the state will be crucial in preparing employees for the work of the future.

Work continues to make sure employees stay safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while still meeting their mission to get planes back to the nation's warfighters as quickly an efficiently as possible.

She says while navigating through the pandemic has been a challenge, it did not have a significant effect on production rates, something Air Force leaders look at when determining which base is equipped to handle new work.

"We say bring it on, we can do it here at Robins because we're the very best at what we do," she said.

She says maintaining that level of excellence also requires a good relationship with employees and creating a working environment that will continue to attract skilled workers.

Since taking command, she's been hosting informal discussions with employees on topics like training, communication, and diversity and inclusion.

"One of my biggest priorities is caring for our people and making sure the environment here is a place where people feel like they can thrive," Hammerstedt said.

This is General Hammerstedt's second stop at Robins. She was in command of the Aircraft Maintenance Group from 2014 to 2016 before taking jobs at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and the Pentagon.