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Military

Officials activate 711th Human Performance Wing

by John Schutte
Human Effectiveness Directorate

3/26/2008 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Officials at the Air Force Research Laboratory officially activated the 711th Human Performance Wing during a ceremony at the Air Force Institute of Technology's Kenney Hall here March 25.

The new wing combines AFRL's Human Effectiveness Directorate with elements transitioning to Wright-Patterson AFB from the 311th Human Systems Wing at Brooks City-Base, Texas. These include the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, the Air Force Institute for Operational Health and the 311th Performance Enhancement Directorate.

Thomas S. Wells, a member of the senior executive service who was named director of the new wing Feb. 29, officially accepted command during a traditional military flag exchange.

Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke, AFRL commander, was among those who spoke about the activation.

"We have a rare opportunity to consolidate, reorganize and revitalize one of the finest labs in the world for human performance research and aerospace medicine," General Bedke said. "Working together, I know we will do just that.

"Fortunately for us, we found the right guy to be the first wing director in Tom Wells," General Bedke said to a crowd of about 350. The general added that "integrating science and technology with medically oriented functions seems like a daunting task, but I know that the men and women of AFRL are ready to handle any challenges we encounter."

The Department of Defense 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission mandated that the 311th HSW functions from Brooks City-Base relocate to Wright-Patterson AFB. Also under BRAC law, the Human Effectiveness Directorate Warfighter Readiness Research Division in Mesa, Ariz., will join other Human Effectiveness Directorate divisions at Wright-Patterson AFB by 2011.

The 711th HPW is an organizational structure related to BRAC but not required by law. In conjunction with the Navy Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory -- which is relocating to Wright-Patterson AFB from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. -- and surrounding universities and medical institutions, the 711th HPW will function as a joint DOD center of excellence for human performance, operating in a university model of education and training, research and development, and clinical evaluation and consultation.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley had formally approved the plan Jan. 20, capping the preparation phase of a three-phase Human Performance Wing implementation process.

AFRL officials held concurrent ceremonies March 25 at Wright-Patterson AFB and Mesa to commemorate the event. A separate ceremony is scheduled for March 28 at Brooks City-Base. Under the new structure, the Air Force Institute for Operational Health at Brooks City-Base will deactivate and its functions will be absorbed into the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, and the Performance Enhancement Directorate will be renamed Human Systems Integration.

The 311th HSW will remain active at Brooks City-Base until the Air Force missions there have been relocated.

On a historical note, Air Force officials redesignated the inactive Harry G. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, or AAMRL, as the 711th HPW and activated it as one of 10 entities now within AFRL. The new wing's emblem is the AAMRL patch with wording revised to reflect the merger of the Human Effectiveness Directorate science and technology mission with the aerospace medical and human systems integration missions.

The 711th HPW could eventually bring an additional 500 military, 350 civilian and a corresponding number of contractor jobs to Wright-Patterson and the Dayton, Ohio, area. In addition, the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine will cycle more than 5,000 aerospace medicine students to the Dayton region yearly.



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