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NEWS | April 18, 2017

Answers to commander's call questions

By 628th Air Base Wing 628th Air Base Wing

The following are the questions raised during the March 628th Air Base Wing Commander's Call. Below are the answers provided:

How is the wing streamlining administrative processes?

Answer:  We recognize the volume of administrative documents requiring leadership review/approval/signature and the staffing required to manage the process have increased over the past few years. At the wing staff level, we are tackling this problem by addressing three key areas. 


First, the Air Force's approved tool for providing taskings from headquarters to the squadron level is the Task Management Tool (TMT).  The 628th Air Base Wing front office will continue to use this as the official tasking mechanism. Additionally, the front office stresses the importance of timeliness and thoroughness of coordination in responses by the group and squadron leadership and their administrative personnel.  External suspense’s will be adhered to and tracked/briefed at the wing’s weekly staff meetings.


Second, to facilitate and adequately track staffing packages generated at the group and squadron levels requiring wing leadership review/approval/signature, we have developed an internal tracking tool referred to as "Document Upload for Support of the Commander" (DUSC) using Sharepoint EIM.  This tool is a little less cumbersome than TMT and enables wing, group and squadron administrative staff to "flight follow" the packages to completion.  Ultimately, it is the Action Officer's (AOs) responsibility to track and ensure the package is meeting the deadlines; however, this tool enables the quick identification of the package's status.


Finally, with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's focus on revitalizing the squadron and the Secretary of the Air Force's announcement reducing additional duties, we directed an internal Rapid Improvement Event (RIE). This event was focused on the Commander's Support Staff (CSS) and those additional duties to include many administrative processes that will ultimately be the responsibility of your respective CSS sections.  Whether or not we will be provided additional manpower to execute these duties is unknown; however, our RIE team has met over the last couple of months and will be providing an out-brief the week of April 17-21.  The group will be presenting courses of action (COAs) to implement this initiative for the wing staff agencies (to include the Comptroller Squadron).  Many of these recommendations may be applicable to the wing as a whole, to include, but not limited to, consolidation of additional duties at the group or squadron level.


Are there any incentives for Navy members who live in the dorms who want to compete for dorm of the quarter?


Answer:  Sailors who live in the air base dorms may compete in the Dorm of the Quarter and Dorm Room of the Quarter competition and can earn the same incentives as Airmen.  Sailors in the dorms on the Weapons Station compete for the “Unit of the Quarter.”  Any units awarded an "Outstanding" are exempt from the next week's inspection, reducing the time in the service members units to twice a month.  At the end of a quarter, the unit with the most outstanding weekly inspections is awarded the Unit of the Quarter and immediately becomes exempt from the next four weekly room inspections and receives a sign for their door identifying them as Unit of the Quarter.

I'm forced to drive my POV between bases to different events and evolution. How can I go about getting compensation for mileage and gas?


Answer:  Reimbursement for local travel between the Air Base and the Weapons Station is only authorized if the member contacts the 628th  Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations for a government vehicle (GOV) and one is not available.  If a GOV is not available, the member will be provided an official memorandum stating no government vehicles were available. This letter can then be used as supporting documentation for reimbursement of local travel in the Defense Travel System (DTS).


Additional information per the 628th Force Support Squadron and LRS is: The most current Joint Base Local Travel Memo directs members travelling between the Air Base and the Weapons Station for “official business” to utilize unit assigned GOV. As a last resort, members must request a UDI (you-drive-it) vehicle through their unit Vehicle Control Officer and acquire the vehicle through the 628th LRS. Per the Joint Base Local Travel Memo, members who file for reimbursement of local travel under circumstances when a GOV or UDI is/was available for use will not be approved for reimbursement.


Why are dorm residents getting paid double Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) which is more than what off base residents receive?


Answer:  Standard BAS is intended to assist with the costs of groceries and other incidental expenses. This is based on the availability of adequate facilities for food preparation and storage. This is not the case for dorm residents. The Dining Facility (DFAC) provides Airmen with food they otherwise do not have the means to prepare; as such, BAS for Airmen in the dorms is automatically deducted from their pay. With the temporary closure of the DFAC, Airmen who live in the dorms will incur increased subsistence costs but continue to lack the facilities to prepare food. Therefore, BAS II is provided to offset the costs of food they otherwise do not have the means to prepare.


Why do Soldiers in the dorms not qualify for BAS II like the rest of the AB dorm residents?


Answer:  The 628th Comptroller Squadron has provided the BAS II authorization letter to the Air Force Accounting and Finance Office (AFAFO) requesting the same entitlements for Joint Base Charleston’s Soldiers.  The Army process is different than the Air Force; however, the required information on all Soldiers living in Air Force dormitories has been sent to Army leadership for their respective entitlement approval.

Are they any plans to resurface the PT track?


Answer:  There are no current plans to resurface the PT track.  The Air Base PT track was constructed in 2009 with the running surface having a  service life of more than 10 years.  The PT track length was officially certified and Ground Safety conducted an inspection of the PT track during October 2016. No deficiencies were found with the current physical state of the track.  We will continue to monitor the running surface. Resurfacing will be proactively programmed for the next few years as the track surface nears the end of its programmed service life.  Any concerns or issues with current track should be addressed with the Fitness Assessment Cell.


Any word on renovating the men’s locker room at the fitness center?


Answer:  A renovation project for the Air Base Fitness Center men’s locker rooms is currently on the books for execution in Fiscal Year 2021.  This project calls for replacing/upgrading all shower fixtures and shower heads, building five feet high dividing walls between the shower heads to provide privacy, re-grouting and re-sealing the shower room tiles and replacing lighting fixtures within the locker room.  This project is currently prioritized as #109 on the installation's Integrated Priority List. The 628th CES is posturing to accelerate execution of this project as early as October 2017 as part of quality of life project inputs.


Why is the sauna always broken at the gym? Why is there no steam room?


Answer:  Repair/replacement of the sauna and steam room has been identified as an issue.  We are in preliminary conversation with the Air Force Services Activity in an effort to advocate for funding for this upgrade. At this time, there is no ETIC for the renovation of the men’s locker room in the Air Base Fitness Center.


Are there any updates on the concealed to carry in uniform?


Answer:  None yet. However Joint Base Charleston is giving careful consideration to the LEOSA Program, which is a concealed carry permit for current or retired federal law enforcement officers, who meet the standards for their services program.


Is there further guidance for the new civilian appraisal system and how to create SMART objectives?


Answer:  There is currently no Air Force guidance on how to create SMART objectives for the new DPMAP civilian appraisal system.  However, the Civilian Personnel Office, in the absence of Air Force guidance, has put together training so civilian employees and their supervisors can begin the process.


Are reflector belts on backorder?


Answer:  Reflective belts are not on backorder.  The Base Supply Store (BSC) has five colors of reflective belts on hand. The unit’s Government Purchase Card holders can go the BSC and purchase reflective belts as needed.  The BSC is located at 406 N Graves Ave., Building 713.  You can also reach them by calling (843) 767-9700.


If a service/support animal is a "restricted" breed are they allowed on base or to live in housing?


Answer:  According to the Fair Housing Act, housing managers cannot discriminate against any dog considered a service or emotional support animal.  Since privatized housing is on federal property certain additional rules apply.  DOD Instruction 1300.27, signed Jan. 7, 2016, provides guidance on determining eligibility and suitability of service or emotional support animals within privatized housing. Once an animal is identified as a service or emotional support animal, the member would apply for a Joint Base commander waiver through the privatized housing office.  Air Force Instruction 32-6001 provides amplifying guidance on breeds or mixed breeds deemed aggressive or potentially aggressive will not be boarded on installations.  Breeds falling into this category are Pit Bull (American Staffordshire Bull Terrier or English Staffordshire Bull Terrier), Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Chow and wolf hybrids.  If you have questions, see the Hunt/Balfour Beatty or AF Housing Management Office.


Are there any plans for the cardio portion of the PT test to be done at McCombs Way or a different trail?


Answer: The Air Force PT tests will continue to be conducted on the oval track where they currently take place. The track distance has been certified (most recently in October 2016) to ensure the exact distance is being completed by each runner.  Additionally, the current track provides Fitness Assessment Cell (FAC) staff full visibility of all individuals while completing their Fitness Assessment. Other trails such as McCombs Way have various areas of restricted visibility.


The Weapons Station wash rack is inoperative. What is the estimated time of repair?


Answer:  The GOV wash rack is estimated to be repaired by Apr. 14, 2017.  The 628th CES is waiting on a quote to repair the sump and associated plumbing. Vehicle Control Officers/Vehicle Control NCOs will be notified upon completion of repairs.  In the interim, General Services Administration (GSA) vehicles are authorized to spend up to $15 dollars a month at local car washes.  Members can contact their unit’s VCOs/VCNCOs for further details on washing GSA vehicles.


Does MWR always have to make money?  The WS Golf course is once again doing a three month 'trial' for weekly breakfast. Most likely MWR will pull the plug again.


Answer: Not all Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) activities or programs are profitable.  Standardized goals are established and an installation wide working group chaired by the Air Base Wing Commander provides oversight.  When costs aren't covered with normal operations, the offset is absorbed by the MWR fund.


Are there plans to have the rock wall at outdoor recreation open on weekends?


Answer: The climbing wall at the Weapons Station Outdoor Adventure Center is open Saturday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., regular fees apply. The climbing wall at the Air Base Outdoor Recreation Center is available for individual or group use during regular operational hours.  A two-hour wall party, including instruction and equipment for up to ten patrons is available for $80 during weekends and regular operational hours.


Why is the bowling alley food court closed on Sunday while the lanes are open?


Answer: Although food options may be limited during the Presidential Memorandum directing a federal hiring freeze, food service is available at Marrington Bowling Center and Starlifter Lanes during regular hours of operation. When the hiring freeze ends, every effort will be made to staff at an appropriate level.


When will fly overs start for mosquitoes on the NWS?


Answer:  Public Health and Preventative Medicine will begin mosquito trapping shortly.  If mosquito counts are above required thresholds, ground or aerial pesticide spraying will be accomplished.  Ground spraying is conducted either by the 628th CES in-house entomologists or through contract.  Joint Base Charleston is tentatively scheduled for three aerial sprayings (May 11-14, June 22-25 and September 7-10).  Depending on mosquito counts and availability of aerial spray unit, frequency of aerial sprays may change.  In addition, CES is working for an aerial larvaciding of the Weapons Station near the end of April when king tides occur.  Larvaciding will reduce the number of hatching mosquitos.


A street in Hunley Park has been without street lights since the hurricane in October. I've contacted Hunt with zero change. How can I resolve this safety issue?


Answer:  The 628th CES and Hunt conducted a review of all lighting on March 30, 2017.  A few street lights were identified as out.  Manpower dependent, the 628th CES and Hunt will plan to correct deficiencies by Apr. 14, 2017.


What is the purpose of the power outage on Apr. 1, 2017?


Answer:  To safely conduct substation maintenance and perform repairs to the overhead electrical distribution system which was damaged during Hurricane Matthew.


Can we make active duty in uniform have priority for all base services from 1100-1300 during weekdays?


Answer:  The Military Personnel Section, Customer Support Office and Civilian Personnel Office serve the total force population beyond Joint Base Charleston, which includes military, civilians and contractors on duty as well as retirees and family members of all categories.  In order to have priority between the hours of 11 a.m. to- 1 p.m., a member may make an appointment at https://rapids-appointments.


For all other FSS customer service functions, we will take a look at each facility to see if it is appropriate to give priority to military personnel between the weekday hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


People living in base housing are constantly bringing up the issue of mosquitoes in the patio areas. Is there a way to have a mass bug spray day?


Answer:  Hunt who manages Air Base housing is not required per their closing documents to perform mosquito spraying within the patio areas.  Balfour Beatty who manages Weapons Station housing is contractually obligated to perform mosquito treatment within the housing areas.  Spraying in WS housing areas will begin the first week of April through October.  Treatment is accomplished via a truck mounted fogger which drifts into backyards and tree-line where mosquitos like to congregate.


What do you know about the air conditioning always being broken in the dorms?


Answer:  Dorm 460 A/C is fully operational as of Mar. 31, 2017. As for Dorms 446 and 464, the 628th CES made few adjustments to the chiller plant, responsible for cooling of these dormitories, to keep A/C working during past few weeks with mild weather outside.  The 628th CES will continue to monitor and make more adjustments to improve the living condition for Dorms 446 and 464.


Is the golf course open on Saturday?


Answer:  Yes, both 628th FSS Golf Courses are open on Saturday’s. Please join us!


When will the AC be turned on in work buildings?


Answer:  The 628th CES typically shuts down all boilers no later than Apr. 15, 2017.  All air conditioning in facilities should already be operational.  If work facilities are too hot, please have your facility manager contact the 628th CES customer service.


Is there a requirement to update the Weapon Station’s theater?


Answer:  The 628th CES has authority to advertise an end-of-fiscal-year project to upgrade seating and flooring within the WS theater.  If funds are provided for the project, expected repairs should begin this winter.


Does the Child Development Center (CDC) not hold a parents night out for younger children?


Answer:  Give Parents a Break is not offered at this time due to staffing shortages.  The program is designed to provide care for families subject to unique stresses (deployments, remote tours, emergency situations, family members with special needs) on a referral basis.


AB Youth Programs offer a "Kids Night Out" program on a quarterly basis.     Note:  Less frequency of program offerings (monthly to quarterly) after a significant decrease in participation/no shows. 


Can we implement an Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) comment type system where we send information on text and drive violations? These are out of control.


Answer:  Should anyone wish to report violations, they may contact the Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) at 963-3600.

I keep getting automated calls about a referral appointment. I've already gone, why do I continue to get calls?


Answer:  You may still be receiving calls about your referral after you've already attended the appointment for the following reasons:


1. The civilian doctor's notes have not been sent back to the 628th Medical Group yet, so we cannot close the referral.


2.  You have multiple open referrals and you haven't attended the appointment (or we haven't received the notes back) for one or more of them.


If you have questions about the answers mentioned, please give the Referral Management Center a call at 843-963-6745.


With the Blended Retirement System (BRS), the match of 4 percent begins after two years. What if you've already had the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for more than two years? Does it automatically start or do we have to wait another two years?


Answer: For those members who opt-in, if they have already completed two years of service the matching will begin automatically after appropriate contributions are made.   Additionally, the two year requirement to receive matching funds is in relationship to the amount of time the member must serve prior to receiving matching funds.  Therefore, it doesn't matter whether the member has had a TSP account or not.