Air Force Materiel Command leaders are pledging their support for a new money-saving Air Force initiative dubbed Every Dollar Counts.
In the wake of sequestration and reduced budgets, the initiative calls on Airmen to submit their money-saving ideas as part of a new culture of savings.
“This is an opportunity to respond to a tough situation with creative, lasting solutions,” said Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, AFMC commander.
As part of the initiative, there will be a month-long open call for innovative, cost-conscious ideas. From May 1 to June 1, Airmen can submit their proposal via the Airmen Powered by Innovation websites while at home, the office or on their smartphone. Links to those sites will be released soon.
Both uniformed and civilian Air Force members can participate in the call for ideas and share their creative and efficient ways to save money and time.
“We’ve asked all AFMC organizations and Airmen at every level to contribute ideas,” said Wolfenbarger. “Our command is filled with many bright minds and I’m confident we’ll see that reflected in the submissions.”
Along with collecting Airmen inputs, the Every Dollar Counts initiative is intended to kick off a cultural shift during a time of shrinking budgets.
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer said, “We stopped flying one-third of Air Force active duty combat-coded fighter squadrons in April, and we’re projected to slow down or stop the flow of aircraft and engines in the depots.”
Furthermore, he said, the Air Force must trim about $11 billion in the last half of fiscal year 2013. Additionally, our overseas contingency operations funding is almost $2 billion short so we have to make up that difference as well.
And the challenge is compounded by the sequester timeline, which officially began March 1.
“We have to squeeze a year’s worth of cuts into about six months,” Spencer said of the Air Force budget. “So there’s a lot of money to be taken out of our budget in a short period of time … I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
The initiative’s call for ideas includes those that might not have previously been considered.
“Airmen Powered by Innovation means go into that file of good ideas that were maybe ‘too hard to do,’ pull them out and submit them,” Spencer declared. “If it’s a good idea and requires an Air Force Instruction change, then we’ll see if we can do that.”
Spencer wants Airmen to submit their ideas regardless of the idea’s potential savings.
“Whether it’s $500, $1 million or $30 million, we want to hear it because those dollars add up,” he said.
“We’re taking every angle we can to manage our money and ‘buy’ as much mission as we can,” he said. “In that sense, every Airman, whether they’re at a wing or headquarters can help.”
The Every Dollar Counts initiative does not just focus on wings but includes those large centrally managed accounts as well.
“The Centralized Asset Management Office at Wright Patterson AFB manages the money we spend on flying hours, sustaining space operations and depot operations – over $16 billion – so we’re taking a close review of that account to determine how we can stretch those dollars,” said Spencer.
The general expressed optimism in quickly finding solutions through ideas.
“Innovation is what we’re all about,” Spencer said. “This is our family and we’re going to get through this because we’ve got great Airmen to help see us through this.”