Sequestration is a big deal, so are you

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- As you know, budget cuts went into effect March 1.

Across the command, we took action to help manage the impact and to prepare for a worst-case scenario. We are in the process of cutting non-mission critical travel, base maintenance contracts, and facility projects, and we are anticipating steep cuts to our flying-hour program. Other potential cuts are almost certain to affect you and our mission.

While I can't predict the course our nation's leaders will take, I can tell you what we are doing in USAFE-AFAFRICA.

We will continue to support the warfighter by providing responsive, decisive airpower and ready Airmen to U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command and other global operations. To the best of our ability, we will remain responsive to the combatant commanders' operational requirements, but as cuts to training and flying hours take hold, we will certainly have a diminished capacity to respond to the unknown in the future.

As you know, mission, Airmen and families are my priorities. Taking care of you and our Air Force family is critical to successful mission accomplishment. I am doing everything possible to protect programs that sustain our Airmen and our families in this overseas community. I cannot promise the same level of service you had Feb. 28, but I can promise you commanders at every level are making informed choices among difficult options.

Wing commanders most certainly have you in mind during this time of fiscal reduction. They have been given broad guidelines and authorities, which they are using to manage issues at our wings. Commanders are assessing how to best balance people and mission priorities and are attacking the problems. I trust them, and wherever possible, I plan to keep decision making at the wing level, closest to you, and the mission and services that are being cut.

I have confidence you will work with your local leadership and continue to find ways to save money. Do you see wasteful steps in your shop processes? Tell someone. Every dollar counts.

Finally, I would ask you all to keep in your thoughts the nearly 2,000 civilian Airmen facing a potential furlough. Words cannot adequately express how important our USAFE-AFAFRICA civilian teammates are to our collective success. If this option is executed, it will most certainly have a devastating impact on our people and mission.

In closing, let me just say sequestration is a big deal, and so are you. You work hard and are extremely good at what you do. Be proud of that - I am! In the end, I am confident our USAFE-AFAFRICA team will continue to shine, as we have throughout our 70-year history. Thank you for your service and for your sacrifice as we move forward together.