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Q&A pt. XII: Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence, Medical Appointments, Personnel, Communications, and Finance/Funding

  • Published
  • By Col. Laura Lenderman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Last week, I ran the 11th in a series of "Q&A" articles, which are in response to questions asked during my last Commander's Call. This is the 12th article in the series.

I'll be posting the responses to all of the questions on a Sharepoint site and on our public website,, for future access and review. Please keep the questions coming.


What is the Cyber Center of Excellence? Will there be more information coming about it? Are there ways for us to get involved?

The Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence is a non-profit organization created to serve as a hub for everything cybersecurity for the St. Louis and Southwestern Illinois region. Military, Education, and Commercial partners are working together to provide opportunities for workforce development, information sharing, and youth education programs. The illustration to the right is a fact sheet that provides more information.


Why does the 375th Medical Group only allow one complaint per appointment?

The 375th Medical Group does not have a policy that restricts a patient to one complaint per appointment. The medical team wants to dedicate as much time as needed to fully address patient issues, so occasionally it will be necessary to schedule a separate appointment to ensure there is enough time to properly evaluate the
concerns identified.

It can be difficult to get a medical appointment with your primary care manager. Is there a fix for this? Right now, you have to convince the appointment line to see anyone.

We understand sometimes it can be difficult to get an appointment when you want. Over the last year, the Air Force has implemented a new appointment system to put more control into the hands of the patients. However, as providers deploy, move, retire, and separate, the 375th MDG will encounter appointment shortages. We project these shortages and take steps to mitigate access issues, but occasionally there are challenges that are beyond our control.

In order to provide the right care at the right time, we offer multiple access points beyond seeing a doctor.

We have a clinical pharmacist on staff to assist with medication renewals, as well as support staff protocols to provide care for patients that don't necessarily need to be seen by a provider. You can also use TRICARE Online ( to see what appointments are available for your provider and Air Force Medical Home team. You can also use secure messaging on MiCare ( to send a message to your provider team.

The 375th MDG also provides different access points through the Nurse Advice Line, Behavioral Health Optimization Program, and direct access for active duty in the Physical Therapy clinic.

In emergency time-critical situations, during duty hours, are civilians able to get immediate emergency assistance such as mental health?

Our Scott Medical Clinic does not have an Emergency Department.

Any patient, regardless of beneficiary status, should report to the closest local civilian emergency department if they need emergency assistance, including mental health suicidal ideations. If the situation is life-threatening, you should immediately call 911.


Since the Honor Guard rotation isn't going anywhere, could the rotation be extended from four to six months? It will be easier to fill. Can we turn Honor Guard into a special duty that lasts more than four to six months or at least 12-24 months upon graduation of training week?

First, thank you to all of our Honor Guard members. You serve a critical role in honoring our servicemen and women and in helping their families through a very difficult time.

Our Honor Guard commitment remains high, especially as we see more of our beloved World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans pass away.
The Air Force funds at least one full-time Honor Guard special duty position at each installation, but is unable to significantly increase the number of personnel assigned as a special duty like we do for military training instructors, school instructors or first sergeants.

While Honor Guard rotations at Scott AFB are at least four months, some units are able to extend personnel to six months at a time, depending on the unit's ability to support longer tour lengths.

If a six month rotation is preferred, I encourage you to engage your unit leadership to see if your unit is able to support a longer rotation.

Will the civilians at Scott go on furlough in 2016?

There are no indications at this point that there will be a civilian furlough in 2016.

You said the installation will support new units. We have less manning and money. Is there a plan to realign services and re-focus efforts without breaking people/resources?

Scott has received new mission sets, most recently, the 688th Cyber Operations Group. On balance, the new cyber mission hasn't added to the total number of Scott-assigned personnel in significant numbers. Over the past couple years, Headquarters Air Mobility Command actually lost several hundred positions, meaning the base population has remained relatively the same. When new missions are added, there is a mechanism for conducting a manpower validation study aimed at adding personnel to base supporting units.

Those studies are executed over time, and we are looking at the next iteration of validations to ensure we have the right personnel mixes available to support emerging missions. Regarding funding, we carefully account for and pursue every available dollar or resource to meet mission needs. Over the past couple years, Team Scott has been able to secure funding across a host of mission requirements.

While not everything has been funded, we continue to aggressively articulate requirements and pursue funding avenues.

Why don't we have enough Defenders to man our gates? What determines 375th Security Forces Squadron manning levels?

Great question! All 375th Air Mobility Wing units are postured to meet validated requirements as of the last manpower validation study.

Based upon the last validation, Scott has the right number of authorized positions, but AF-wide mission requirements impact our ability to maintain 100 percent of assigned personnel to authorized positions. Manning is not earned for Cardinal Creek Gate, Scott Elementary School Gate or other areas where our Defenders provide support. Manning these non-traditional "gates" impacts our ability to fully staff Shiloh and Belleville Gates during peak inbound traffic times.

Like most units, deployments also impact the total number of personnel available to meet in-garrison mission requirements. Our Defenders are one of the most heavily deployed units on the installation.

While we have been successful in getting Guard and Reserve support to backfill our perpetually deployed defenders, we are generally unable to backfill everyone, resulting in fewer being available to man the main gates.

We receive great volunteer support for morning traffic, and continue using that opportunity to help both support our hard-working Defenders and keep traffic flowing smoothly.


External hard drives and slide advancers have been banned, but no one has given us safe substitutes. As an educator I am frustrated.

We certainly understand the frustration that these restrictions have caused, but they are necessary for network security across DoD. There is a waiver process for mission critical USB drives, but we expect that the current limitations will remain in place for the foreseeable future. As an alternative, we recommend the use of shared drives or EIM (SharePoint) to move and share data.

In addition, the AF is currently evaluating a replacement email system that may include some online storage capabilities for individual users.

For the slide advancers, there are very few devices that are currently authorized for use on our unclassified network, and they are only infrared (line of sight) devices.

AF Space Command, the approval authority for devices on the network, is currently developing new guidance that will authorize additional wireless devices.

That new guidance may be available as quickly as a matter of weeks, and we will ensure the base is made aware as soon as the new guidance is signed.

If you have additional questions regarding either of these issues, we encourage you to contact your unit's Cybersecurity Liaison, formerly Information Assurance Office, or the Wing Cybersecurity Office at 256-4295.

How many people actually use virtual Enterprise Service Desk?

For those who don't know, virtual Enterprise Service Desk is the tool on everyone's desktop (a blue box labeled "vESD" or "Help Desk") that will fix many computer problems automatically and will help submit a trouble ticket for those problems it can't fix.

Last month on Scott AFB, vESD was used 954 times and it automatically resolved 383 (40 percent) of customer concerns. If you have additional questions regarding vESD or other communications issues, please call the Communication Focal Point at 256-2666.


What countermeasures are in place to prevent a squadron from using all of their yearly funds just so that they get the same funding yearly?

We are all responsible to ensure we're making smart spending decisions at every organizational level.

A squadron's annual budget is based on prioritized mission requirements, not how much they spend the year prior. This time of year, each squadron/unit determines their mission requirements for the next fiscal year (FY17).

These priorities are then vetted through the group/wing corporate budget processes.
As the wing commander, I chair the Financial Management Board, and approve the planned budgetary needs for the next year.

A similar process for funding short-falls during a fiscal year is conducted to prioritize mission requirements to be considered if additional funding becomes available.

Ultimately, commanders at all levels are charged to ensure funds are appropriately used to support our most important mission objectives.