Masters Thesis

Solving the policy gap in the Air Force Research Laboratory's suspense management process

The purpose of this study is to determine the nature of the Air Force suspense management policy gap, specifically how it affects the Air Force Research Laboratory, Propulsion Directorate-West (AFRL/RZ-West) suspense control program. Then devise three alternative solutions to this gap analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each alternative. If a policy plan is devised that only meets current needs and AFRL/RZ-West has to implement another alternative in one to five years, the solution will not have been effective enough to justify the cost of implementation. In the current economic and political climate there have been considerable pressures placed on the DOD to reduce spending and increase efficiencies. This is a major factor when determining how to change AFRL/RZ-West’s suspense management system to enable AFRL/RZ-West to be a more efficient and cost-saving organization. In this paper three alternatives were explored and the author feels that alternative three, capitalizing on current organizational knowledge to benefit AFRL/RZ-West, is the most viable taking into consideration the available time, money, and resources. The alternatives to be explored include: 1) Maintain the current policy environment; 2) Develop a Unique Suspense Management System for AFRL/RZ-West; or 3) Capitalize on Current Organizational Knowledge to Benefit AFRL/RZ-West. A program plan was devised to assist AFRL/RZ-West to implement, maintain and share the benefits of filling this policy gap. In order to implement alternative three effectively, the author suggests the following recommendations: 1) Acknowledge the need for a suspense management system 2) Define AFRL/RZ-West’s requirements for a suspense management system 3) Choose a Suspense Management System 4) Take a Top-down Approach to the Implementation 5) Report the Results of the Program to HQ AFRL Without a useful and meaningful suspense management system in place, many of the issues surrounding and resulting from the lack of policy, specific to the suspense process, begin to take their toll on the organization. Considering the largest issues of re-accomplishing work and time loss on behalf of numerous employees, the author explored three alternatives for solving this policy gap have been proposed and the strengths and weaknesses of each alternative have been identified. Properly identifying these strengths and weaknesses will allow AFRL/RZ-West to plan more strategically. If AFRL/RZ-West follows, the program plan supplied in this paper and reports the findings up the Air Force chain of command the suspense management process Air Force wide may become the focus for the next round of federal business process re-engineering.

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