In light of ongoing budgetary constraints, the 56th Mission Support Group and 56th Force Support Squadron are adopting a business case analysis approach to look at base activities here.
“We’re using this approach to evaluate all our nonappropriated fund activities,” said Col. Nathan Mooney, 56th MSG commander, referring to funds that pay for morale events and subsidize venues such as Club Five Six, Falcon Dunes Golf Course and Thunderbolt Lanes.
NAF funds are different from appropriated funds, which are allocated by Congress to directly support Luke’s mission of training F-16 pilots and deploying warfighters.
“We’re looking at our activities from a profit/loss standpoint and seeing where we can be more judicious with our spending,” Mooney said. “Our goal is simple, to minimize our expenditures while optimizing our revenue. To help us meet this goal, we reached out to customers via an online survey and got some great feedback. We analyzed the data and found that when our activities weren’t profitable, we weren’t providing the type of products our customers wanted or that our operating expenses were out of line with where they needed to be.”
The development of the Club Five Six Advisory Committee is one example of the changes made based on survey feedback. The committee is comprised of active-duty, civilian and retiree representatives who now advise Club Five Six management and FSS leadership on club programs, products and services. In addition, the committee helps measure customer satisfaction with club activities so that the necessary programming adjustments can be made in a timely manner.
Another base service that recently underwent business case analysis was Silver Wings Pool. Leadership evaluated the costs associated with ensuring the facility met standards for the summer season and found there were needed repairs.
“We found it was going to cost approximately $162,000 in maintenance to get the pool ready, and from there, another $77,000 in operating costs,” Mooney said. “Under the fiscal constraints we have now, that would be a pretty tough bill for us.”
For 2013, base leadership decided it would be better for Luke to not open the pool and instead look for alternatives for base personnel to go to, he said.
Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander, concurred with the decision.
“I did not make this decision lightly, but after considering the current budget situation facing not only Luke Air Force Base but the broader Defense Department, not opening Silver Wings Pool this year was the right thing to do,” he said.
To help mitigate the effects of the pool closure, some West Valley pools have offered discounted rates to Airmen and their families. The YMCA in Goodyear and the Surprise Aquatics Center are two such places. For base residents, the Balfour Beatty pool remains available.
“We’re looking at streamlining and enhancing our programs to be the best they can possibly be for our customers,” Mooney said. “Through initiatives such as partnering with off-base organizations and strengthening other relationships like with Fighter Country Partnership, we’re able to make beneficial adjustments to the way we do business.”
By saving money, funds are available for other services such as the base youth center, child development center, summer camps and other areas, Mooney said. In an effort to be more cost conscious, Luke Airmen and families are encouraged to continue to provide feedback on base activities.
“Let us know how we’re doing,” he said. “Let us know what you like and don’t like. It’s only through that type of feedback that we’re able to make the necessary adjustments so we can grow and improve.”