Budget cuts: Never say never

  • Published
  • By Col. Brett J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing
Sequestration is upon us. It was NEVER supposed to happen. Just the threat of sequestration was supposed to encourage our leaders to make tough decisions regarding broad budget cuts. Members of congress and the president reiterated over and over that sequestration cuts must not, and would not be allowed to happen. However, they did not reach an agreement, and subsequently, across-the-board military spending cuts are taking effect.

I am not happy with the impacts these cuts are having on our wing. Unless a new agreement is reached before the week of April 20, the full-time ART and civilian staff will be furloughed one day a week. This will result in a 20 percent pay cut through the end of the fiscal year. 908 AW personnel should know this - I will do whatever is possible to reduce the negative impacts on 908th civilians, reservists, and on the Wing's mission readiness.

Additionally, If 20 percent of the full-time staff were absent every day of the week, we should expect dysfunction within the wing. Critically needed civilian employee synergy would be lost. Instead of dealing with that frustrating exercise, we have decided to have Friday as a wing-wide furlough day. That way our wing remains effective Monday through Thursday; minimizing the negative impacts of the furlough to only one day a week.

If there is a mission need for the staff to be here on Friday, I expect squadron and group commanders to identify those requirements in advance and to make arrangements to conduct those activities through military pay statuses.

In addition to the furlough, our flying hours will be reduced by 18 percent for the whole year. Effectively, that is nearly a 25 percent reduction in our remaining flying hours through the end of September. We'll have to use our remaining flying hours as efficiently as possible to maintain our flying qualifications and currencies to the best of our abilities.

On a much brighter note... I extend a huge THANK YOU to the ASTS, the other group and squadron leadership, health monitors and each individual for the great leap upwards in our Readiness stats. We've gone from near the bottom in that category to the upper percentile when compared with the rest of the wings in AFRC.

Well Done!

However, I'd like to increase our score by another five percent or so and then maintain that mission readiness focus to ensure we remain the top unit within 22 AF. I really appreciate the effort everyone put into boosting this key metric.

Our DoD, the Air Force, the Air Force Reserve, and the 908th Airlift Wing face some extremely difficult times. But let me assure you, take comfort in the steadfast determination and fighting spirit of this great organization. As always, I expect us to find a way to excel amidst all the turbulence and turmoil.
After all, we are like no others and will remain, 'Ready... Always.'