Pacific Air Forces must find ways to save millions of dollars in operations and maintenance funding starting in October 2010 to support a $3 billion modernization program across the Air Force that includes aircraft replenishment, officials said.

Col. James F. Martin, the financial management director and comptroller for PACAF, said the command’s goal is to find funding equal to about 5 percent of its budget every year through 2013.

PACAF has identified several savings initiatives that will contribute to the effort, he said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

"These ... will save the equivalent of approximately 5 percent of our O&M budget beginning in FY10 and going through FY13," he said.

PACAF’s budget for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 is about $1.2 billion annually, he said.

If that figure remains roughly the same in fiscal 2010, it will have to feed about $60 million a year into the Air Force program.

Each of the nine wings attached to U.S. Air Forces in Europe is being asked to contribute around 3 percent of its fiscal 2009 operations and maintenance budgets into the effort.

But Martin said PACAF, which also has nine wings as well as four numbered Air Forces, hasn’t asked any of its units to follow suit during the fiscal 2009 reduction. Instead, wings will focus their initiatives on generating long-term savings while relying on airmen to find creative ways to save money to meet the cost-savings objective, he added.

"We will look across the full spectrum of operations," Martin said. "We’ve asked all our people to analyze their daily workload and look for ways to streamline operations, increase productivity, and save dollars if possible."

Cuts will be determined using Air Force Smart Operations 21 guidelines, a technique that allows personnel at all levels to focus on core duties and identify changes that can improve their productivity and reduce costs.

Through innovation and process improvement, Martin said, PACAF hopes to find resources not being used efficiently and apply them in areas where they are "desperately needed." Those include aircraft modernization, enhancing mission effectiveness and improving quality of life for airmen and their families.

"Upgrading our weapon systems will reduce maintenance costs and provide new capabilities while reducing the footprint of support that older aircraft require," Martin said. "Also, by creating a ‘continuous improvement’ mind-set, we can increase productivity and achieve savings that can be applied to other critical needs."

Despite an altered budgetary landscape due to the war on terrorism, Martin said requirements have always exceeded resources.

With shrinking budgets, he said, "it is our responsibility to maximize taxpayer contributions" and find the most efficient means to operate while also taking care of airmen.

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