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How Much is in Your Wallet?

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- How many of you remember the scene in the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" when Clark Griswold is expecting a substantial Christmas bonus that will help pay for the new pool he wants to have built in the backyard, but instead gets the annual subscription to the "Jelly of the Month Club?" Or possibly hitting closer to home, how many of you know someone who had to trade in a large SUV for a more gas-friendly vehicle several years ago when gas prices were so high? The fiscal realities of the past couple years and even looking forward several years are not dissimilar to the previous two examples--the budget crunch is forcing us to make tough decisions that are outside of what we've come to know and expect in the past "years of plenty."

The new budget reality incorporates severely limited Temporary Duty Assignment dollars, constrained civilian hiring efforts, shifted periods of performance on contracts and various other initiatives to keep us within our significantly reduced funding limitations. This demands that we look closely at all of our requirements and make some tough calls that we've not had to make for a long time--if at all. The primary focus right now, both for the wing and across the Air Force, is how we will get to Sept. 30 with our reduced budget. However, as a wing, we realize that the current situation and actions taken this year will have an impact on our fiscal position in Fiscal Year 2014 and those concerns are being raised.

Training is a vital part of maintaining our readiness and skill levels--sometimes that will require us actually traveling to a course, but seek opportunities where the course instructors travel and also seek out online or distance learning. These opportunities should be expanding as the entire force is facing the same budget constraints and must rely on more up-to-date learning methods to accomplish the same goals.

We cannot underestimate the skills within our own work centers--some significant workplace improvements can be tackled with a little ingenuity and teamwork. Additionally, there was a tasking this past Fall that had units collect excess supplies for re-distribution across the wing to areas where they were in higher demand. Double check your areas and with other units--someone may have exactly what you need without spending any additional funds. Getting to "yes" is still the primary goal, but there might be more ways to get there than what you think.
While we're in the heart of some challenging fiscal times, we have the brightest and best people in this wing who know how to get the job done regardless of the situation. We'll continue to execute the mission with perfection and take care of our people as we always have. We will "Rise Up" and meet this challenge head-on and show command and the Air Force how a great team gets it done. And unlike Griswold, we won't have to resort to short-sighted, unethical means to achieve our desired end stated.

So, how much is in your wallet and how long can you make that money last?
I know we will not settle for a "Jelly of the Month Club!"