Local

August 9, 2013

Nellis squadrons stand ready despite sequestration setbacks

Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — The 99th Civil Engineer Squadron, 99th Security Forces Squadron and 99th Contracting Squadron are determined to provide quality support despite civilian furlough and sequestration setbacks, but request patience during this challenging time.

Sequestration has had a far reaching impact across the Department of Defense, from manning issues to unit budget cuts, and many of us are feeling the pinch.

Although the civilian furlough has affected 99th Civil Engineer Squadron operations, measures have been taken to ensure full support for emergency response.

“CE encompasses emergency and first responders with the fire department, explosive ordnance disposal and readiness and emergency management flights,” said Capt. Alyson Busch, 99th CES readiness flight officer. “These three flights have adjusted to ensure full support in the event of activation. Airmen and families will continue to be taken care of in the event of an emergency and the base will see no lapse in these critical services.”

Busch has also identified other major obstacles the CES must face.

“We have been adjusting programs due to budget cuts for almost two years,” said Busch. “The budget crisis impacted our ability to purchase parts and materials, creating less than pristine conditions in work centers and certainly some frustrated customers. Custodial and grounds contracts will not be brought back to the pre-sequestration levels in the near future so we continue to ask Airmen to help. CE does have self-help items available for check-out to accomplish basic grounds cleanup.”

For access to these items, facility managers can contact CE self-help at DSN 682-2475 or 682-8064.
Capt. Arthur Zeitler, 99th Security Forces Squadron operations officer, echoes similar concerns regarding the effects of sequestration and the impacts felt base-wide.

Civilian furloughs may cause a slight increase in wait times for customers, Zeitler said. Pass and ID will maintain current customer service hours with reduced manpower Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Questions regarding Resource Protection and Integrated Defense Planning and Programming will continue to be answered by military staff members or civilians on their non-furlough days.

The 99th Contracting Squadron has also experienced challenges when adapting to the civilian furloughs, but will strive to continue to provide the same level of service that customers are accustomed to, said 1st Lt. Matthew Markling, 99th CONS supply section contracting officer.

Markling, says the civilian furloughs have weakened the experience level and continuity in the work place and will noticeably weaken contracting capabilities.

“Our civilian workforce makes up 41 percent of the CONS members and holds 70 percent of the squadron’s experience and continuity,” Markling said. “Furloughs have reduced the civilian labor and talent pool by 20 percent.”

“The mandatory furloughs and sequestration actions have decreased our mission capabilities. However, we will continue to do all we can to still support the war fighter and assure the continuation of Nellis, Creech and the Nevada Test and Training Range,” Markling said.

Contracting will continue to work closely with unit resource advisors and 99th CPTS to scrub requirements to purchase mission critical requirements at this time. Please contact your resource advisor or contracting at 652-4003 for questions regarding your purchasing needs.

As the 99th CES, 99th SFS and 99th CONS adapt to civilian furloughs, the customer’s patience is requested while these squadrons provide the best customer support possible during the sequestration.

Editor’s Note: Capt. Alyson Busch, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron, Capt. Arthur Zeitler, 99th Security Forces Squadron and 1st. Lt. Matthew Markling, 99th Contracting Squadron, contributed to the writing of the article.




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