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Fiscal Challenges: Doing our Part

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As we work through the challenges of a fiscally constrained environment within the  Department of Defense, it is imperative that all of us be prepared for these changes in the way the DoD does business. The Air Force Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request reflects an extraordinary effort to ensure America gets the maximum value out of every dollar.

As you go about your day-to-day jobs, we ask that each of you look and see where changes can be made so that we can operate more effectively and efficiently. You're here and you know what things can be trimmed and what processes are obsolete or  redundant.

As we focus on the areas we control, rest assured that our leadership is committed to  maintaining assured access to space. Our Air Force provides or enables 85 percent of space-based capabilities for missile warning, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), PNT (Positioning, Navigation and Timing), communications, and weather; and as you know, many of these capabilities were launched from right here at the Cape.

Our Air Force leadership recognizes the importance of space and the budget situation  facing us right now:

"The bottom line is that [the budget] requires choices, serious choices, and painful choices in some cases," Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a recent interview.

"The approach that we have taken is to preserve the readiness of our Air Force as a  prime imperative. That is that whatever size we end up, that we are going to be a ready, well-trained, highly motivated and supremely capable force. That is the strategy that we are following."

While all would like to think that this pressure is going to be short-lived, I think we need to be prepared for something longer term, as General Schwartz said recently.

"This is not a temporary thing. It is not a six-month thing, for sure. My sense is that this  period of austerity is likely going to last five years," said General Schwartz.

Sharks, each of us play an important role in executing our mission safely and successfully. The skills you possess make that a reality. The Air Force will continue to be  a ready, well-trained and extremely capable force. We will always be the premier
gateway to space. You will make that happen.

Keep pushing, Sharks!