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Budget impact updates & shout outs!

  • Published
  • By Col. David Almand
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Like many bases around the country, Scott AFB has been in the news with many reporters asking how a budget sequestration would affect us here ... and how much of an impact it would have on the local economy.

While we've addressed some of the actions we've already taken to slow down spending and prepare to perform our mission with reduced budgets, our civilian workforce is preparing for possible furlough actions, where they'll be required to forgo one day's pay each week through the rest of the fiscal year. If that happens, they would work only four days for 22 weeks, which would begin in mid-April.

We've been working hard to prepare all our employees on how this may affect them financially, and we estimate that the loss of pay revenue for the 4,500 civilians this would affect would be near $30 million. In addition, we've seen a civilian hiring freeze and elimination of contracts for our term and temporary hires. Some contractors may also be seeing elimination of projects due to the budget uncertainty, which cannot be fulfilled at this point. All of this adds up to have an impact on personal family budgets as well as on the local economy.

According to the Regional Business Council, Scott AFB is the largest employer in Southwest Illinois and is ranked the fourth largest in the St. Louis metro area. With a 13,000 member workforce, we provide an incredible amount of support to our nation's defense through our support of cyber/network operations and global mobility by air, sea, and land. We have several 24-hour operational centers who keep the heartbeat of these global missions alive through logistics coordination, making each mission seamless.
It's definitely a stressful time as we wait, but I'm confident that we will work together through the issues. Our senior leaders will have some tough decisions to make--whether it occurs during this budget cycle or in the future, we've known for some time that we need to find ways to operate more efficiently while supporting our nation's objectives. Thankfully, we have many examples of dedication and resourcefulness from generations before us, who also found trying periods during their times of service, whether physical or economical.

While we brace for the possible eventuality of the furlough, please know that we are also working to mitigate its effects on our missions and readiness. Certainly our military members will feel the brunt of the impact, and while we don't expect them to replace the full capability of the civilian workload, surely they will carry on with the resources they have. There are still many steps we need to follow before anything is implemented, and I will be scheduling some town hall meetings for our civilian workforce to discuss this issue and answer questions.

Meanwhile, I'd like to offer a few shout outs to members of our team who've been doing some great things for us:

- I want to thank Lt. Col. John Schuliger and the 375th Civil Engineering Squadron for the tremendous job they've done to clear our streets of the ice and snow. While we were at home taking refuge from the storms, they worked throughout the night to clear our roads and parking lots, and kept me updated on all the travel conditions that would affect everyone. 

- The 15th Operational Weather Squadron helped ensure our preparation by providing accurate forecasts for these storms. Not only is that important for our flying missions, but for all our safety as well. As most Illinois natives are aware, March is historically a stormy season of the year, and this base has seen everything from ice storms to tornadoes during this month. The 15th OWS will have their work cut out for them in the weeks to come, so stay tuned.

- Scott AFB played host to a very special Vietnam Veteran on Monday, a Marine who is currently in hospice care and who wanted, as part of a wish granted through the nonprofit organization "Hospice Dreams" to hear a military band play for him. Members of the Air Force Band of Mid-America played not only for him, but for his 92-year old father who is also a WWII Marine veteran who served in the South Pacific. After a concert of patriotic music, they retired to the conference room to share old war stories and answer questions. It truly was a special afternoon and you can see video and print stories of the visit online at

- This may seem a little unconventional, but I'd also like to give a shout out to Gen. Casimir Pulaski (1745-1779). Not only are our kids glad they have a day off school on Monday, but living in Illinois makes it extra special to recognize this Revolutionary War hero (as only Illinois recognizes Casimir Pulaski Day due to the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw). He was known for his love of freedom and courage on the battlefield, and joined our ranks in 1777, where he became known as the father of the American Calvary. He often used his own finances (when Congressional resources were scarce) to ensure our troops had the finest equipment. He died in the Battle of Savannah on Oct. 9, 1779 as he was felled by cannon fire while riding his horse into battle.

We have a great history ... and we also have many who are making their own marks in history as they meet the challenges of this day. Thank you for all that you do, and we'll walk through the coming days together with a determined resolve.