Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Air Force Reserve leaders told members of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force that merging the Air Force Reserve with the Air National Guard would create little value and cause numerous adverse impacts — detracting from the broader goal of improving the Air Force structure.
Appointed by the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the commissioners listened to testimony Oct. 24-25. They are looking at the Air Force’s structure to determine if and how it should be changed to meet future missions and funding challenges. Their report and recommendations are due to the president by Feb. 1, 2014.
“I believe the nation benefits from the synergistic value of a three-component Air Force consisting of the Active Duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard,” said Lt. Gen. James Jackson, chief of Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, during his testimony Oct. 24.
Open season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program and the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program will run Nov. 11 through Dec. 9 Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.
“Open season is the best time for employees to review their health care coverage, not only to make desired changes, but also to ensure their plan has not been altered or discontinued,” said Carlos Colon, Air Force Personnel Center.
Additionally, open season is a good time for employees who do not have health coverage to consider their options in light of the Affordable Care Act requirement to maintain minimum health care coverage for themselves and all dependents claimed on their federal tax return, or qualify for an exemption. Those who do not will be charged a penalty beginning with their 2014 federal tax return, in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Two senior Air Force leaders testified before Congress Oct. 23, along with their Army and Navy counterparts on the impact of the continuing resolution and sequestration on the service’s acquisition and modernization programs.
Dr. William LaPlante, the principal deputy to the secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, and Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, both testified on the significant impacts of the continuing resolution and sequestration to the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.
LaPlante, along with the other acquisition chiefs, said sequestration will cost the Defense Department more than it saves. Cuts to development programs will drive up unit costs and are already delaying testing, he said.
Under the continuing resolution, the services are not permitted to change how funds are appropriated from one year to the next; leaving some accounts with excess cash while others are underfunded. In fiscal 2013, Congress authorized the transfer of some funds between accounts, but that flexibility has not been renewed for fiscal 2014.
The inflexible funding means the Air Force is likely to have to cut the number of aircraft it buys this year, LaPlante said, singling out the F-35 Lightning II program as an example.
Individuals who inappropriately store and transmit personally identifiable information over the Air Force Network will now have their accounts locked in response to the violation.
“We are taking several steps to improve notification and reporting of PII incidents,” said Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command commander. “My intent is to increase awareness within the Air Force as part of my responsibility to ensure the security and defense of the AFNET and its users. PII violations create both a personal and operational risk for all of us.”
The 624th Operations Center, as the Cyber Command and Control Mission System Weapon System, then reports the AFNET PII breach to the 24th Air Force commander, which will result in locking the violator’s AFNET account and notification to the individual’s wing commander.
“On Oct. 24, we began locking out the AFNET account of individuals who were found to be inappropriately transmitting PII data via the AFNET,” said Maj. Gen. J. Kevin McLaughlin, 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber commander. “A violator’s account will only be unlocked once the first O-6 in their chain of command certifies that the individual has accomplished all necessary actions, to include remedial training.”