AFLCMC

General Discussion for SMART Scholarship Recipients

AFLCMC

Postby AFLCMC » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:56 pm

If anyone has gotten an award with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in Wright Patterson AFB in the past, can you provide any feedback on your experience or give me an expectation for the position? I am an EE major.
AFLCMC
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby Guest1234 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:52 pm

AFLCMC wrote:If anyone has gotten an award with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in Wright Patterson AFB in the past, can you provide any feedback on your experience or give me an expectation for the position? I am an EE major.


Can you say what office in LCMC? I have worked with some of those folks before. Generally LCMC engineers are in program offices and are more like program managers than engineers, though it really just depends on the office.
Guest1234
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby AFLCMC » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:13 am

Guest1234 wrote:
AFLCMC wrote:If anyone has gotten an award with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in Wright Patterson AFB in the past, can you provide any feedback on your experience or give me an expectation for the position? I am an EE major.


Can you say what office in LCMC? I have worked with some of those folks before. Generally LCMC engineers are in program offices and are more like program managers than engineers, though it really just depends on the office.


It is in LCMC/EZA (Acquire, train, equip engineering division). After speaking with my POC, I've found that the first year or so, I would be there and then they would send me to a group that works on a particular system platform (ex. B52).
AFLCMC
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby SmartLCMC » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:48 pm

As Guest1234 stated, the AFLCMC engineers act as program managers. Do not expect to do anything technical.

I was in an AFLCMC organization. They are generally organized by platform / equipment of responsibility. For example, in your B-52 example, there will likely be an engineer responsible for the fuel system, environmental control, landing gear, flight controls, etc, of B-52 aircraft. If the system is smaller, there is a chance one engineer is responsible for the entire system. These engineers are responsible for running programs and contracts with the defense contractors to keep these systems up-to-date and reliable.

These positions are not overly technical. I've worked with "engineers" at AFLCMC whom were not engineers by any degree or training. I've also worked with "engineers" at AFLCMC who were operating in a field that was not their discipline (ex civil engineer by training responsible for aircraft systems or a computer science major responsible for mechanical inspection systems).

As an EE, the most technical thing you can probably expect to do is draw a cable schematic diagram labeling plugs and jacks in powerpoint. You read that right - powerpoint. Forget about doing board layout or using any kind of design tool to make these drawings - these tools simply do not exist. Even these opportunities will be few and far between. You'll likely end up spending your time communicating and filling out paperwork for the Defense Logistics Agency so they can buy parts for your system of responsibility. You will be the go-to contact for maintenance personnel if they have questions (ie, you will find in the manual the relevant section and copy/paste or if a more complicated problem, talk to the contractor that designed it). You will also manage programs and be part of the procurement process for new hardware. I found most of this moved at a snails pace.

I was severely mislead by base HR about my responsibilities and was placed into an AFLCMC group. I personally do not think AFLCMC (and the representative branches organizations) should be able to pick from SMART candidates - SMART was advertised as a scholarship for research, not paper pushing and project management.

If project management is your thing, great - this may be your ticket. If you want to do something technical, I would strongly consider rejecting the scholarship. It's a generous scholarship, but it doesn't pay to be bitter every day from doing something you don't enjoy.
SmartLCMC
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby AFLCMC » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:06 am

SmartLCMC wrote:As Guest1234 stated, the AFLCMC engineers act as program managers. Do not expect to do anything technical.

I was in an AFLCMC organization. They are generally organized by platform / equipment of responsibility. For example, in your B-52 example, there will likely be an engineer responsible for the fuel system, environmental control, landing gear, flight controls, etc, of B-52 aircraft. If the system is smaller, there is a chance one engineer is responsible for the entire system. These engineers are responsible for running programs and contracts with the defense contractors to keep these systems up-to-date and reliable.

These positions are not overly technical. I've worked with "engineers" at AFLCMC whom were not engineers by any degree or training. I've also worked with "engineers" at AFLCMC who were operating in a field that was not their discipline (ex civil engineer by training responsible for aircraft systems or a computer science major responsible for mechanical inspection systems).

As an EE, the most technical thing you can probably expect to do is draw a cable schematic diagram labeling plugs and jacks in powerpoint. You read that right - powerpoint. Forget about doing board layout or using any kind of design tool to make these drawings - these tools simply do not exist. Even these opportunities will be few and far between. You'll likely end up spending your time communicating and filling out paperwork for the Defense Logistics Agency so they can buy parts for your system of responsibility. You will be the go-to contact for maintenance personnel if they have questions (ie, you will find in the manual the relevant section and copy/paste or if a more complicated problem, talk to the contractor that designed it). You will also manage programs and be part of the procurement process for new hardware. I found most of this moved at a snails pace.

I was severely mislead by base HR about my responsibilities and was placed into an AFLCMC group. I personally do not think AFLCMC (and the representative branches organizations) should be able to pick from SMART candidates - SMART was advertised as a scholarship for research, not paper pushing and project management.

If project management is your thing, great - this may be your ticket. If you want to do something technical, I would strongly consider rejecting the scholarship. It's a generous scholarship, but it doesn't pay to be bitter every day from doing something you don't enjoy.


Could provide more info? Was this at WPAFB, and in what discipline were you in? I specifically asked if it was system program office because I worried about the same thing and he said it wasn't. I will learn more and ask more questions when I visit to be sure but I have seen the threads about Robin(?) AFB and I felt I should ask.
AFLCMC
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby Guest1234 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:02 pm

AFLCMC wrote:
SmartLCMC wrote:Could provide more info? Was this at WPAFB, and in what discipline were you in? I specifically asked if it was system program office because I worried about the same thing and he said it wasn't. I will learn more and ask more questions when I visit to be sure but I have seen the threads about Robin(?) AFB and I felt I should ask.


SmartLCMC summarized my experience with LCMC engineers at WPAFB. Very few of them do technical work in their field of study and are generally program/contract managers. I am in AFRL to finish out my commitment (within months of being done) and even here, in the lab, there is a push for all scientists and engineers to manage contracts more than do in house research (at least in my divison). Fortunately I have managed to stay mostly technical for reasons I won't get into here, but I had a few attempts of contracts being dumped on me within the first 6 months. I would definitely go through the site visit if you are interested in SMART and ask questions about day to day work, etc.
Guest1234
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby SmartLCMC » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:54 pm

You should certainly ask more questions during your site visit. As others have said countless times on this form, you need to ask specific and pointed questions to get a sense of what you would be doing. Even ask for a job description breakdown (listing all responsibilities) similar to what you would be asked once you finish Phase 1 of SMART. Ask which specific engineering instruments and tools you will be using and how much of your day you will be using them.

The AFLCMC is a huge, convoluted organization with facilities in 11 major locations. Even an organization that is based in Tinker, Robins, Hanscom, etc will likely have a counterpart of some size at Wright Patt. They all essentially work the same way. I don't feel comfortable listing my previous employer, but I can tell you I was an Aerospace Engineer. The job description sounded really cool, working on really neat equipment. It was anything but.

I think you should assume all AFLCMC organizations are not technical and that you will not be doing any sort of design work laying out boards, programming FPGAs, working in RTOS, working with spectrum analyzers, RF, etc. It's possible you may find some lone engineer who's been there for some time that does something halfway technical, but I'm stressing in all likelyhood this person would be the extreme exception, not the norm.

The employees of AFLCMC groups are generally assigned a POS economy desktop computer that the government likely paid way too much money for. They generally have an out-of-date Windows operating system running on it with Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer - that's it. This computer will choke if any engineering tool is installed on it. This is pretty much irrelevant anyway, because no AFLCMC unit I've interacted with has licenses for any CAD or simulation tools. Forget about trying to be proactive and installing python, ltspice, or anything open source or free - you're not an administrator and getting IT to install anything takes eons to accomplish if it is on their approved list -- and tools like these aren't.

Government procurement is funny with how money is allocated. If you try to go to your management to buy a computers and equipment, you will probably be told it is not possible due to not having a budget allocated for it (they do however, have millions of dollars to feed defense contractors). This is a common theme on this board.

Be sure to ask during your site visit also if you will be coded as an acquisition employee and be required to take Defense Acquisition University classes. If you are (and I've never heard of an AFLCMC employee that wasn't), there is a practically 100% chance you will not be doing technical work. This has been a major complaint also on this board in the past / previous years.

I'm not trying to chip away at your accomplishment at being awarded SMART. I know how it feels - it's exciting, thrilling, and feels full of opportunity when you are handed an award. Be proud. But if you want something technical or in design, I would run like hell away from an AFLCMC or any acquisition based award because you're not going to find what you're looking for. I wish I had the opportunity to reconsider.
SmartLCMC
 

Re: AFLCMC

Postby DONTLCMC » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:13 pm

I agree with SmartLCMC in every way. The work you do will be exactly what they stated, down to a T. I'm doing an internship right now with LCMC and you are more than likely going to take the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) classes, and ACQ101. It will take you forever to get a desk & computer, but once you do, you'll regret it. You'll only be able to use Internet Explorer with Outlook on them.

I am doing everything in my power to swap to another facility that is more aligned with my major because I've already signed the contract. I'm not saying the work is awful, but if you want to do anything related to your major and the time you spent at a university, I would stay away from the LCMC. It's of the extent that once you start, it causes more harm than good in the field of your study. The only thing you'll end up with is government experience, and that alone is not enough for a technical field.
DONTLCMC
 
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