Air Distribution Enterprise Next Modernizes Aerial Port Operations

By MS. KIM KNIGHT, STAFF WRITER

What is Air Distribution Enterprise Next (ADEN)?

If you are in the aerial port community, you have probably heard that ADEN is an aggressive modernization effort that will rapidly transform the Air Transportation culture, capabilities, workforce, infrastructure, processes, and stakeholder management.

What spurred the need for ADEN?

Although Port Dawgs are world renowned for unwavering dedication and safety when processing passengers and cargo, many practices and procedures of the career field have been in place for decades. Mr. Michael Courtney, Branch Chief, Innovations, Systems, and Futures (A4TI), Scott Air Force Base (AFB), IL, said, “Our processes and our procedures are really Generation 1, and we have Generation 5 aircraft flying in the system that we support. We need to get our processes to Generation 5 and keep pace with them as they progress.”

To keep pace, tech-savvy Airmen on the flightline will soon be introduced to the Digitally Optimized Geospatial Tactical Airfield Guide (DOGTAG). The power of this ecosystem of technology is harnessed in one hand­held device that feeds a variety of aerial port functions, including the Air Terminal Operations Center, cargo and special handling, ramp services, fleet services, passenger service, and load planning/capabilities forecasting.

Another application that will soon be available for Airmen is the Team Awareness Kit (TAK). TAK is already being used by Special Forces in the Department of Homeland Security for real-time command and control at their fingertips. In February 2020, TAK was put to the test at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK, and passed with near-flawless results. In the near future, this cutting-edge technology will be in the hands of Airmen at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, followed by the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing (AMOW), Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and the 515 AMOW, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI, for further testing. The technology is expected to be fully implemented in the next three to five years.

What are the benefits of aerial port modernization?

The ability to move passengers and cargo more efficiently and effectively will save Airmen an abundance of valuable time. For example, if there is a simple aircraft divert, with passengers and cargo, it can take roughly 27 minutes to coordinate with the receiving location. This daunting task includes numerous phone calls, which is a thing of the past in this day and age. With the updated system, the process will take only 30 seconds because everything will be geo-tracked, and the information will be available almost instantly on hand-held devices for those who need it.

The modernization of our Aerial Ports is long overdue. Our team is working hard to provide innovative and integrated solutions to maximize velocity and flexibility in moving people and cargo to better support our nation’s warfighters. We are excited to execute this strategic effort to connect our people, policies, and processes with modernized technology to change the overall culture of our Aerial Port community, improve the lives of our Airmen, and drive readiness to support rapid global mobility operations. I am extremely proud of the progress our team is making on behalf of our Airmen across AMC

Brig Gen Richard Gibbs, AMC/A4, Director of Engineering, Logistics, and Force Protection, Scott AFB, IL.

The modernization will not only benefit the Airmen doing the heavy lifting but it will also benefit AMC’s Rapid Global Mobility mission. Ultimately, in times of crisis, when people desperately await humanitarian aid—every second matters. When the warfighter depends on supplies or equipment to continue a hard fight or is injured and requires swift, life­saving medical care—every second matters. When Port Dawgs load aircraft for these vital missions—every second matters.

How can you help?

“We recognize that it’s a lot easier to just work harder in the moment to get the job done,” said SMSgt Zachary Davis, Superintendent, Standardization and Resources Branch (A4TS), Scott AFB, IL. “We are asking folks to do the more difficult work, which is organizational effectiveness and process improvement, so we can make improvements to the career field as a whole.”

To lead the way for Generation 5 and beyond, the Agile Enterprise Growth-Innovation Steering (AEGIS) Team was established to recruit the best minds from across the aerial port community. “We want to take advantage of all the intelligent people we have out there in the career field. We have over 12,000 Total Force Airmen out there that have great ideas that move this mission day in and day out,” Courtney said.

Those who step up and bring ideas to the AEGIS Team are heard. For example, SSgt Santosh Devkota devised a system to process a passenger when the Global Air Transportation Execution System (GATES) goes down, without inputting the data manually, which saves valuable time. “We took Devkota and tied him in with the AEGIS Team. There’s an application we are working on under DOGTAG that will revolutionize how we process passengers and get us more in line with how the commercial industry is doing business. With Devkota on the team, we are getting that application up and running.”

If you have an idea, reach out to the AEGIS
Team at 2T2innovation@gmail.com.