Every Airman counts

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. J.J. Loschinskey
  • 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron commander
Hey sports fans, I'd like to take a few minutes discussing the sport of national security as it relates to every one of us. Aside from being players, we're all team owners as well as investors.

Over the past few years the game has been a tough one, as well as a very expensive one. The fans, also known as taxpayers, love our team, but they just don't have the money to spend that they used to.

With the funding crunch that the Department of Defense and the Air Force are in, we have to keep our eye on the ball and make sure that we spend the next dollar on the next priority. If we don't, there are some pretty dire consequences. National Security is not youth soccer - someone is keeping score, there are winners and losers, and they don't give out trophies just for participating.

Let me throw a number out, the DOD spends between $600 and $700 billion every year to make sure we win our "games." Over the next ten years, there is going to be $487 billion less to spend. You can buy almost 2 million houses valued at $250,000 for that kind of cash.

So the question is, what DO we spend money on? In simple terms, we spend money on stuff and we spend money on people. Stuff like new tankers, fuel, building and fixing facilities, paper and pens, and even services like cleaning restrooms and vacuuming carpet. We spend BILLIONS on stuff every year! It's all stuff we NEED...right? Every dollar that we spend on something that we don't absolutely need is unavailable to invest in something that we do need.

Perhaps more importantly, we spend money on people, our most valuable asset. Over the past few years, we've seen less get spent on "stuff" like new weapons systems and new facilities. Now, we're starting to see trends indicating that we are going to invest less money on people; our roster is being cut. To wit, we've recently seen a significant reduction in military and civilian numbers across the board.

Additionally, for fiscal year 2012, enlisted professional military education is only funded to 45 percent. If this doesn't change, it means that there will be fewer opportunities for professional development, translating into PME opportunities being even more competitive. We all need to be on top of our game, physically, mentally, spiritually and socially, by taking advantage of every opportunity to improve ourselves. Everyone needs to know their job and do it. We need to look for better and more efficient ways to do things. As professionals, what we do and how we act is more important now than ever ... every Airman counts.

Over the next year, I challenge everyone to think in these terms:

The next bill you're asking our number one sports fan, Uncle Sam, to pay...imagine that cash coming out of your wallet, because as a taxpayer, it is.

Are you doing everything you can to present yourself as a wise investment to the American taxpayer?