The 2nd Annual Air Force Community Partnership Awards: A Celebration of Innovation

  • Published
  • By SAF/IE Strategic Communication Team

The Air Force’s Community Partnership office engages with defense communities across the country to strengthen and fortify the nation's defense apparatus. These partnerships between the Department of the Air Force and local communities extend far beyond collaborations – they form strategic alliances that foster a shared sense of purpose and responsibility in supporting local military installations.

The AFCP office bridges the gap between installations and their surrounding communities, enhancing Air Force and Space Force capabilities while also building a foundation of trust and mutual support.

These partnerships are invaluable to local installations commanders, and fundamentally the service, because they enable the installations to efficiently complete their day-to-day missions.

“Our community partnerships are only possible because of the hard work and dedicated efforts of our installation and community leaders and their staffs,” said Robert Moriarty, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Installations. “We have tremendous community support at all our installations, and we thank them all.”

To honor the partnerships impact, the Department of the Air Force recognizes these partnerships via its AFCP awards program. This program, now in its second annual iteration, recognizes the beacon of innovation and collaboration between the Air Force, Space Force, and the installations’ surrounding communities.

On November 6, the Department of the Air Force recognized and honored outstanding programs that exemplify the spirit of partnership and excellence at its Town Hall during the Association of Defense Communities for Installation Innovation Forum in Orlando, Florida.

The AFCP rigorously evaluated the packages submitted for consideration for a partnership awards. This process focused on four key criteria:

1. Advancing community relations: Efforts that advanced community relations, emphasizing initiatives that strengthen ties and foster positive relationships between installations and their surrounding communities.

2. Enhancing mission effectiveness:  Initiatives that actively enhanced mission effectiveness, contributing to mission partners' improved performance and readiness. 

3. Impacting the well-being and resilience of military personnel and families:  Programs that directly impacted the well-being and resilience of military personnel and their families.

4. Producing a financial benefit: Efficient resource utilization through cost savings, cost avoidance, and cost efficiencies.

“Those selected during this award cycle are recognized for their over-and-above efforts, dedication, and commitment to building strong community partners over this last year,” said Moriarty.

This year’s award winners and award categories are as follows:

Joint Base San Antonio - Electromagnetic Defense Initiative - Mission Partnerships:
Joint Base San Antonio's Electromagnetic Defense Initiative, under the Mission Partnerships category, focused on enhancing water and power resilience for 266 mission partners against physical and natural threats. This collaboration has saved $35 million thru grants and in-kind services while obtaining more than $55 million in prototype development to ensure mission readiness. Engaging over 700 volunteers and 100 organizations, the initiative spans 11 installations in the San Antonio area. The initiative demonstrated a collaborative effort dedicated to advancing infrastructure resilience for Joint Base San Antonio and its surrounding community.

Luke Air Force Base - Fighter Country Foundation - Quality of Life Partnership:
In the Quality-of-Life Partnership category, Luke Air Force Base partnered with the Fighter Country Foundation to contribute to the health and well-being of our Airmen's quality of life. The partnership includes significant facility renovations, such as the Chapel's Kitchen and squadron heritage rooms. Additionally, Fighter Country Foundation provided over $25,000 annually for free, reliable rides to Airmen Against Drunk Driving. This collaboration goes above and beyond physical improvements; it facilitated the integration of government programs and local events with military members in 13 cities, involving more than 1,000 civic leaders, civilians, families, and businesses.

Moody Air Force Base - Lowndes County – Intergovernmental Service Agreement:
Moody Air Force Base's Intergovernmental Service Agreement with Lowndes County for Moody’s Quiet Pines Golf Course addresses negative financial impacts on Moody’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund, resulting in an enhanced quality of life for active duty, dependents, and retirees. This innovative partnership saves jobs and provides a new recreational venue for civilians, current military personnel, and retirees. 

"Partnerships involve people and require partnership champions. These partnerships, and all those nominated during this award cycle, were made possible through the dedication and commitment of the military and community members who championed them to completion, and this cannot be overstated," said Col. Rick Hern, Partnership Broker for the Air Force Community Partnership Program.

The AFCP, established in January 2013, is a vital framework for fostering collaboration between military installations and their communities. By encouraging creativity, efficiency, and innovation, the program enables shared solutions to common challenges. Through these partnerships, leaders can leverage unique capabilities that enhance mission performance, reduce costs, and improve overall quality of life.

"The Air Force Community Partnership program encourages our Installation Leaders to consider all the ‘tools in their toolkit’ to enable requirements and solve challenges. Our role in the Secretariat is to develop the policies and resources that accelerate community-installation partnership development, to promote and advocate for tools and authorities, and to recognize success —like the three 2023 AFCP awardees—not just for the local benefits provided to the installation and neighboring communities, but for what it means for the Department of the Air Force on a broader scale as we look for ways to replicate these successful non-traditional approaches for the betterment of everyone," said Toniann Fisher, Director, Air Force Community Partnerships and Mission Sustainment.

The 2nd Annual Air Force Community Partnership Awards showcase the power of collaboration and celebrates those who turn challenges into opportunities for shared success. These initiatives exemplify the commitment to building strong, mutually beneficial relationships between military installations and their surrounding communities to create a resilient and united force for the future.