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Commander: Fiscal Year closes positively

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Every September a group of Vandenberg professionals ramp up their daily activities with extra hours, hundred of e-mails, and numerous phone calls as they close out the wing's financial books for the end of the fiscal year on 30 Sep. These experts are responsible for executing an almost $350 million budget between 1 October and 30 September each year. Additionally, this group diligently works to obtain funds above and beyond our budget - called fallout - from the headquarters, to help us meet unforeseen financial obligations, execute projects that weren't funded within the wing's original budget, or to buy down future needs by buying additional spares or materials now. Key to the whole process is spending and accounting for every penny - efficiency is highly prized during the closeout process. Again this year, the efforts of the men and women of the 30th Comptroller Squadron, 30th Contracting Squadron and unit resource advisors paid off. After 12 months and $350 million, and thousands of contracting actions, they flawlessly closed the wing's 2007 budget - to a zero balance.

While $350 million sounds like a lot to you and me, it's a tight budget when it comes to executing the wing's mission of defending the United States through exceptional Launch, Range, Expeditionary, and Installation Operations. In fact, some of the most important things we did this year weren't even strictly "wing" projects. Recently the wing supported the move of the Joint Space Operations Center to its new location. At the same time, it was vital to transfer the Nation's space situational awareness (SSA) capability resident in the 1st Space Control Squadron from Cheyenne Mountain to Vandenberg without any interruption. The importance of this complex transition can't be overstated. The operational command and control of all DoD space assets and continued SSA depended on our support -- and you made that seamless transition a reality!

In the last month of the fiscal year alone, the time when we are usually taking care of fiscal "loose ends," we executed over $13 million - a significant challenge for our resource advisors, contracting experts and finance professionals.

Some of our more visible expenditures include new carpet at the Airman Leadership School, renovation of the 381st Training Group auditorium, replacement of the elevator at MAF-01A, and a contract to re-pave the parade grounds. We also invested in the move and remodeling of GI Java. While the operation continues nightly with volunteers from almost every unit on base the wing funded the move to keep GI Java facilities near the dorms. It will continue to be a first class operation, offering Vandenberg's Airmen an area to spend time and relax.

Because our experts knew the FY 08 budget was going to be even tighter then FY 07, we used some funds to purchase supplies we can use into the next year - paper, ink cartridges, pens - little things that are essential on a daily basis to get the mission done. On a more mundane note, many units also purchased vacuum cleaners; since the wing had to reduce its custodial contract, workcenters had to purchase the tools necessary to take care of these tasks themselves.

In spite of a successful closeout to fiscal 2007, there were still things we couldn't fund. My challenge to you as a team is to keep track of those projects and requirements that still need to be met. Part of our job is to prioritize those requirements/projects and make them ready to execute should funds become available. As a wing we will track them as unfunded requests. Your input into the process is invaluable and absolutely necessary.

To each member of Team Vandenberg who supported our fiscal year-end efforts and made sure we are prudent stewards of the funds our taxpayers entrust to us - thanks again on a job well done! Once more, as a team, you made the impossible look easy. I look forward to an equally "profitable" fiscal 2008!