Bring your ideas, courage and leadership

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Mission Support Group is responsible for providing all service and support to Goodfellow AFB and its personnel in meeting the intelligence and firefighter training mission. The area of responsibility equates to some 159 highly specialized facilities and a population of over 9,000 when you include all students, permanent party, family members and retirees. This is no easy task with a tight budget and an ongoing civilian hiring restriction that is driving our number of well trained and experienced civilians downward. To continue to meet our level of service commitment to you, and the rest of our 9,000 customers, we are looking for outside the box solutions. To this end, I've asked our Mission Support Group personnel to bring their ideas, bring their courage, and bring their leadership.

Facing budget cuts is never easy. Forced to look inward, the DOD recently issued a civilian hiring restriction that limits civilian hiring of one hiring fill to every two vacancies. Air Education and Training Command, recognizing that it needed a more aggressive policy, issued a mandate limiting civilian hiring to one fill for every four vacancies. For a Mission Support Group whose civilian makeup is over 70 percent, this policy has potential to traumatically impact our ability to meet the mission.

Many of you have seen the less than favorable results of the Mission Support Group making needed changes to our service levels. While I hate to bring it up, limiting the North gate hours is sure to be at the top of everyone's list. It was a necessary change brought on due to a reduction of personnel.

Uncertain of our future personnel numbers and still charged to meet the support mission, I asked our folks to bring their ideas in how we can better meet the mission despite our reduced numbers. Secondly, I asked them to bring their courage. More often than not good ideas are thought about but just aren't articulated with fear that it won't be accepted. They need the courage to bring these ideas forward. And lastly, I ask them to bring their leadership. Ideas often bring about change and change isn't always easy. I need their leadership to examine these ideas and find ways to implement them when they look to be promising.

My best example in bringing ideas, courage and leadership forward is linked to our Security Forces Squadron and their movement away from 12-hour work shifts. It was an out of the box idea that a Captain brought forward and is proving to save not just personnel, but will allow us to reopen the North gate beginning 1 Aug without driving additional manpower.

While the North gate reopening is a good news story, the civilian hiring restriction is and will continue to affect many of our service organizations and our ability to meet your needs. It is unfortunate that due to these reductions you will experience reduced service hours and possibly longer lines and wait times. I ask for your patience as we work to explore ideas and options in providing the very best support possible.