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Vandenberg focuses on people, mission during DoD budget cuts

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Under sequestration, signed into law as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, installations across the Air Force made reductions to conform to the $85 billion mandated federal budget cuts.

Vandenberg has not been exempt from these cuts and the base has already taken steps to implement reductions across every aspect of the base's operations.

"We have tried very hard to make deliberate, well-thought, logical reductions that preserve safe and secure mission accomplishment, and maintain services for our people and their families," said Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander. "We took a look at our wing financial plan and had to make tough choices. We've drastically cut our travel and supply budgets and we're reducing the capability of our motor fleet. We've even cut back on the number of smart phones and cell phones. You can expect longer waits for routine work orders and the base is already starting to show the signs of reduced landscaping, but I think the way ahead we've established preserves our mission, our safety and security, and tries to maintain services that are important to all Vandenberg personnel and their families."

The budget also reduced what base leadership refers to as Vandenberg's most valuable asset, its people.

"The hardest cuts to take involve our most valuable asset, our incredible workforce," Armagno said. "Some employees are facing the possibility of 14 days of furlough this year and some have been in positions that were cut last year, uncertain as to when or if their positions would officially disappear. The budget uncertainty prevented us from addressing the personnel cuts, limiting us to offering buy-outs or placing people into similar jobs. We now have a way ahead to hopefully get all employees into other jobs on base."

Even though the reduced budget has hindered some base services, others have improved.

"The construction you see today is largely either military construction, such as the new education center, or last year's dollars, such as the new lodging offices," Armagno said. "These facilities were in dire need of updating and will go a long way in enhancing the quality of life here at Vandenberg."

The budget for fiscal year 2014 may still be uncertain, but Vandenberg senior leaders are committed to the best over-all solution for Team Vandenberg personnel and the mission.

"Thank you, all of Team Vandenberg, for your patience and continued dedication to the service of our nation. In all of this, I still believe in our Air Force, in our Command, and in the importance of our mission," Armagno said. "We will not lose focus of our primary goal of 100 percent safe and secure mission success."