25 January 2013
The budgetary uncertainties currently facing the Department of Defense combined with a projected $1.8 billion shortfall in Air Force funding for overseas contingency operations, require us to take prudent steps to mitigate budget execution risks.
Based on guidance received last week from Headquarters Air Force, my intent is for Air Force Materiel Command to take immediate actions to reduce spending across all appropriations, Working Capital Funds and other reimbursable programs within AFMC's governance authority. In line with the Air Force direction, our actions will -- to the maximum extent possible -- be reversible or recoverable and minimize impacts to core readiness programs.
These actions are necessary in order to support our DOD and our nation. However, we still have a requirement to continue the critical missions that we execute on behalf of the Air Force. Therefore, mission critical exceptions to these actions can be approved with discretion.
Some of the key near-term actions AFMC will take to handle the uncertain budget environment ahead are outlined below. The command will:
- Implement a temporary civilian hiring freeze for permanent, temporary, and term vacancies with exceptions for mission-critical activities and release current temporary and term employees with exceptions for mission-critical activities; there are no current near-term plans to furlough civilians
- Review overseas contingency operations requirements and identify potential reductions which will not impair wartime operations, such as delaying asset reconstitution and incrementally funding OCO contracts
- Cancel all temporary duty travel that is not mission critical, such as attendance at or hosting of conferences and symposia, staff assistance visits, and training seminars
o Within the scope of mission-critical travel, the command will evaluate whether alternative means can be used to complete the mission (such as video teleconference, email, etc.) and will scrub requirements to reduce the number of personnel traveling, vehicles, and lodging expenses
o If a TDY is considered mission critical, the AFMC Vice Commander or Center Commander is the final approval authority
o Inspections such as Nuclear Surety Inspections, Nuclear Surety Staff Assistance Visits, Special Security Office management, and Inspector General intelligence deficiency inspections are mission critical and will continue
o Mission-critical training must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Required by federal or state law, regulation, Executive Order, or DOD Directive
- Meets occupational certification and/or licensing requirements as a condition of continued employment
- Maintains critical functional or occupational competencies identified by career field managers and/or Air Force policy and instructions
- Curtail flying not directly related to readiness, such as air shows, flyovers, and familiarization rides
- Curtail or cancel ongoing and scheduled studies that are not Congressionally-directed or mission critical
- Limit supply purchases to essential fiscal 2013 consumption and stop minor purchases that are not mission critical, such as furniture, information technology refresh, and unit equipment
- Defer non-emergency Facility Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization projects
- Where practical, de-obligate or incrementally fund severable service contracts that cross the fiscal year only to Oct. 31, 2013, and defer the remainder of the contract
We don't expect these near-term reductions to solve the entire fiscal challenge facing us in the event sequestration is triggered or we receive significant topline reductions. These near-term actions are only small steps towards absorbing the impact. Planning is underway for the possibility of larger reductions, and further guidance will be disseminated if that occurs.
Thank you for all you do for AFMC, our Air Force, and our nation. For this effort, as in all others, I am depending on you to stay focused on your role in executing the mission of our Command as we navigate through these uncertain times.