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Adapting to create quality services, recreation on base

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Russell Callaway
  • 375th Force Support Squadron commander
During these times of fiscal constraint due to Sequestration, Scott Air Force Base's Non-Appropriated Funds have to be invested wisely, just like the Appropriated Funds from Congress.

As the 375th Force Support Squadron commander, I am charged with being a good steward of the base's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Fund. The MWRF consists of NAF money that we earn at the various services facilities to include the Bowling Center, Cardinal Creek Golf Course, Arts & Crafts, Outdoor Recreation, the Scott Club, Child Development Centers, Youth Center and Information, Ticket, & Tours. The MWRF also consists of Army and Air Force Exchange Services dividends; and combined with the income generated at the services facilities equals the NAFs that we use to reinvest in the aforementioned activities.

The good news is that, beginning in 2011, Scott Air Force Base has been operating as one of the Air Force's lead bases for the Services Transformation Program. The rationale behind the STP is that for 50 years, every Air Force base has offered the same services activities under a cookie-cutter approach. Minot AFB would offer the exact same programs as Scott AFB or MacDill AFB. However, each base is unique and certainly a remote and isolated base like Minot will need different services than Scott, which is located near a major metropolitan area. Thus, the main goal of STP is to streamline operations and tailor services to best meet the needs of the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guard assigned to Scott.

Under the STP, the FSS has been given the opportunity to closely examine all of the base's services programs to identify efficiencies that can be gained, modify programs, or close under-utilized activities. This has allowed the FSS to implement measures to protect the MWRF, streamline operations and invest NAFs to provide quality programs that our customers desire.

Some of the programs that we have modified, improved or closed are as follows:

· Car Wash - teamed with Air Force Personnel Center to share costs to improve self-wash bays and create vacuum island (completed).

· Bowling Center - teamed with AFPC to cost share NAF project to replace 17-year-old lanes (completed).

· Scott Club - project funded by the Air Force transforming the Scott Club into an events center with improved lunchtime food operation (estimated late spring completion).

· Library - assumed operations of base theater and offering free movies. Also, offer electronic publications with over 650 free magazines available for eReaders and free eBooks.

· 24/7 Fitness - Fitness Center offers 24/7 access to active duty and dependents 18 and older accompanied by a wingman (look for future updates to authorized access).

· Club Card - introduced new benefits to becoming a club member to include free car wash, free coffee, free golf lessons, free bowling shoes, free birthday/anniversary meals and numerous discounts across all services activities.

· Aero Club - closed due to operating loss and low membership.

· Rod & Gun Club - temporarily closed due to operating loss and low membership. A private organization is currently researching options to take over operation.

· Wood Skills Shop - closed to self-help projects due to $90,000 budget cut.

As you can see, the FSS has been very busy the past year safeguarding our Airmen's MWRF while trying to improve the quality of services activities provided. It's a very difficult task cutting costs but improving the quality of programs offered. However, we are looking forward to numerous transformation projects coming to fruition in 2014, and we ask for your patronage as these new and improved activities open. All of the money that you spend at each FSS activity is reinvested in the operation and improvement of your services programs here at Scott AFB.