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NEWS | July 1, 2014

The time for resiliency is now

By Lt. Col. Claudia Bermúdez 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander

At the end of last year the Air Force announced force management programs designed to reduce the force by thousands of Airmen over the next five years as a result of sequestration. The specifics on exactly who would be affected soon came out. Some of us breathed a sigh of relief when we realized we were safe while others went home to share the news with family and friends that their name was on the list and now needed to try and figure out how to best prepare for an uncertain future.

The Air Force had to make some tough decisions to deal with the long-term impacts of sequestration. The law requires the Air Force to cut approximately $12.5 billion each year from its spending plan. Due to budget constraints, this bill will be paid mainly by cuts in force structure. The Air Force is not only looking at force management programs but is also planning on steep cuts to accessions. This will ultimately lead to a five percent overall reduction in active-duty end strength. The ultimate numbers the Air Force is looking at will equate closely to the numbers it had when it became its own service, close to 305,827 Airmen in 1947.

But whether you're meeting a force shaping board or not we're all impacted. Airman who hoped, like many of us, to make the Air Force a lifelong career are being forced to hedge their bets and decide to take one of the voluntary separation programs the Air Force is offering or roll the dice and hope they won't be asked to leave early, while the rest of us wait to see who will be left to accomplish the mission. In fact, because so many Airmen decided to take matters into their own hands only 7,285 are meeting the force shaping boards convening right now at the Air Force Personnel Center's headquarters in San Antonio. Out of those, only 1,427 will be asked to leave. In the meantime the rest of us are wondering if we will be so lucky next year when those boards come around again.

This is a time when we must all be resilient. We talk about it all the time but do we understand what it means? Being resilient is about facing adversity, confronting the challenges you're dealing with at work, dealing with the issues you may have at home or handling any other day to day stressors in a positive way. Resiliency is defined as an individual's ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity. To somehow positively navigate through a crises and losing your job, whether you volunteer or not, can be a crisis. One of the primary factors in being resilient is having positive relationships inside or outside one's family. These relationships can provide the support and caring to handle all of life's challenges. This is a time when we must support each other.