NEWS | June 7, 2013

Joint Base Charleston reacts to fiscal challenges

By 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston, and our nation as a whole, has been coping with challenging economic times. In 2011, the Budget Control Act required the Department of Defense to cut more than $487 billion from the defense budget over 10 years, beginning this fiscal year. The Act also tasked a Supercommittee to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years, but that plan did not materialize, and as a result an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts, known as sequestration, was levied on the Federal budget, with half of those cuts coming from the DoD.

As a result of reductions mandated by the Budget Control Act and sequestration, the Defense Department must cut $46 billion in FY 2013, which will include at least $1.9 million in cuts here at JB Charleston.

Based on guidance from the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Undersecretary of the Air Force and the AMC Vice Commander, JB Charleston officials identified areas to reduce expenditures, and cease or defer services and programs for this fiscal year in order to find savings.

Cost saving actions already underway includes curtailing non-mission essential flying, delaying purchases of non-essential equipment and limiting official travel.

"We simply can't afford to continue operating without changing our methods and reducing our expenses. Therefore, Joint Base Charleston is taking actions to live within a lower funding level and preserve our readiness," said Col. Richard McComb, JB Charleston commander.

Assessments were made locally of JB Charleston's support functions, a few of which included grounds and facility maintenance; custodial services; and civil engineer response to facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization work orders.

Additionally, all Force Support, Communications, and Logistics services were evaluated, and recommendations for changes were coordinated with the Joint Base Charleston Partnership Council, which is comprised of the base's main mission partners. The proposed reductions, including the feedback and recommendations from JB Charleston's mission partners, are projected to provide enough savings to off-set the reductions received due to sequestration.

"Any changes made to services and support were not rushed decisions--we took a methodical approach to identifying the base's most vital needs and programs to ensure sound decisions were reached. It was also done with complete transparency, coordinating with all affected customers and mission partners before making any final decisions. Commanders beyond Joint Base Charleston are facing these same problems and taking similar actions. Our Navy counterparts are also instituting cost-saving measures in their commands to deal with the new fiscal environment," said McComb.

Below are some of the most visible changes that could impact members of the JB Charleston community:

Civil Engineer Updates

- Non-Emergent Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization
- The 628th Civil Engineer Squadron will respond only to Life/Health/Safety issues and emergency work orders. All routine work orders will be deferred.

- Custodial Services - Some customers will notice a change in the frequency of their routine custodial services, such as common-area cleaning and trash pickup.


Force Support Updates

Libraries -
Effective July 1, both JB Charleston libraries will close one additional day per week and reduce operating hours as follows:

Air Base Library hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Friday through Sunday except for one weekend per month in support of the UTA weekend when they'll be open Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weapon Station Library hours: Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m.to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.


Pools - The 2013 pool season will now end Aug. 18. JB Charleston pools have adjusted operating hours as follows:

Air Base Pool hours: Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Weapon Station Pool hours: Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.


Air Base DFAC Take-Out Service - Take-out containers are no longer available at the Air Base DFAC. There have been no changes to take-out procedures at any other JB Charleston food service facilities.

Auto Skills/Auto Hobby - The Air Base Auto Hobby Shop will close effective July 1. All JB Charleston Auto Hobby operations will be consolidated at the Weapons Station Auto Skills Center.

Arts and Crafts Center - The framing, engraving and gift shop services at JB Charleston's Arts and Crafts Center, located on the Air Base, will remain open; however, all other Arts and Crafts Center classes and programs will be discontinued effective July 1. 

Intramural Sports - While all sports programs will remain available, intramural athletes will face changes to the format of tournaments or leagues in addition to an increased requirement for volunteer referees or officials.

Youth Sports Programs - The management of JB Charleston's youth sports programs will be consolidated. Youth and families may experience changes to program location and options.

Youth Camps - In a change from last summer, there will be no Pre-Teen Morning Camp; however, a robust menu of youth Specialty Camps are being offered at the Air Base and Weapon Station Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Please visit the 628th Force Support Squadron's website at www.jbcharleston.com for specific activity and contact information.

Note: While we anticipate the reductions in services and programs are likely temporary, they will require re-examination later this year based on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget climate.

"We understand the unknowns that we currently face are stressful to both our customers and valued employees. We recognize that these changes may negatively impact our service members and their families, as well as our civil servants, retirees, and community partners. However, we will continue to keep the base populace informed of any additional decisions that are made and strive to reach these only after a careful assessment of all relevant facts," said McComb. "Our goal, above all, is to meet the budgetary requirements with as little impact as possible to our mission and our people."

The 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office will continue to provide updates as necessary. Customers should utilize the Commander's Action Line at 963-5581 for questions or concerns regarding changes.