Here is the next round of Q&As from my most recent Commander’s Call.
I posted these responses and previous Q&A to our wing Sharepoint site and our public website, www.scott.af.mil, for future access and review.
Please keep the questions coming!
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
I finish a commissioning program after 2018 and will have to separate and come back as an officer in the same day. Will I have to switch to the new retirement system?
If the situation described in your question is not considered a break in service, you will not have to switch to the new Blended Retirement System. Your options will depend on when you entered Active Duty. If you joined the military after Dec. 31, 2005, you’ll have the choice to enroll in the Blended Retirement System or remain in today’s current retirement system. If you joined before Jan. 1, 2006, you’ll be grandfathered and remain in today’s current retirement system.
If the situation described in your question is considered a break in service, you will have 30 days to decide whether to stay in the legacy retirement system or elect the new Blended Retirement System upon returning to military service, so long as you are either in the Active Component and meet the less than 12-year service criterion or in the Reserve Component and have less than 4,320 retirement points.
Did you know that the observed Christmas holiday is taking precedent over the actual holiday for civilian employees working in the Services Squadron? An employee that works on Christmas will receive regular pay, while an employee that works on the observed holiday (Dec. 26) will receive holiday pay. How is a supervisor supposed to tell an employee that they are assigned to work Christmas and will not receive holiday pay, but their peer that works the day after Christmas will?
Thank you for your question! We spoke with Civilian Personnel who confirmed that all full-time and part-time APF/NAF employees who work on Dec. 25 will receive basic pay plus premium pay. As for Dec. 26, any employee who works on a day designated as the “in lieu of” or “observed” holiday is also entitled to basic pay plus premium pay. These rules apply across the installation.
In terms of our Force Support Squadron (Services Squadron and Mission Support Squadrons merged in 2007), our Dining Facility is the only FSS facility open on Dec. 25, so we can host our annual holiday meal for our Airmen, families and the retiree community. I hope this clarifies our policy. If not, please let me know. Thank you.
My leadership thinks low morale is just a perception in our unit. How does morale change if leadership doesn’t believe it?
Excellent question. One of the responsibilities of a leader is to assess the morale of the unit, and one way to do that is through the Defense Equal Opportunity Climate Survey. This survey should be administered 120 days after an assumption of command and annually thereafter. The survey provides leadership a gauge on the morale of the unit and helps leaders identify the need to initiate changes to improve morale.
It’s important that unit members respond to the survey and provide their honest feedback so that leaders have the most accurate assessment of the unit. In addition to the DEOCS, your first line supervisor is a great starting point to address your concerns. If your supervisor is not responsive to your concerns, please take it a step further up the chain of command until your leadership resolves the situation.
Providing effective communication and feedback through your chain of command is key and will hopefully produce a solution. However, if your leadership chain does not recognize or address your concerns, the Inspector General is another resource to help resolve unit issues. I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you need anything else.
Why do civilian quarterly award package requirements differ so much from military award package requirements?
Civilian packages are slightly different than military packages in part because civilians are restricted to certain hours and are only required to perform those functions described by their job description. On the other hand, military members are afforded more opportunities to participate in base and community activities such as the Top 3, First Four, etc.
We encourage participation in these types of activities to further develop and recognize our military members. We cannot levy the same expectations on our civilian workforce who are bounded by different rules and regulations.
Additionally, military members are required to uphold certain standards and continuously seek self-improvement. That said, we have recently taken steps to streamline our civilian quarterly awards to more closely align with our military.
For civilian packages, we removed the job description and (now) only require eight lines in two vs. three categories. Our military packages are eight lines as well with slightly different categories.
INSTALLATION & FACILITIES
Is it possible to get crosswalks painted at the intersection of E Winters St. and Yonkie Drive/South Drive? Also, could we get a larger mirror posted at the Winters/South intersection?
We greatly appreciate your question. We will propose the crosswalk and mirror suggestions at the next Traffic Safety Board. Please keep in mind, further study will be required from our Civil Engineers to evaluate the optimal location and appropriate application process for the crosswalk to meet this requirement. When pavement gets cold, paint won’t stick to the surface as well and will wear off easily. We want to ensure a lasting solution so we may not be able to implement a solution until the Spring. We look forward to the outcome of a safer crossing zone and ask for your patience while we investigate the best course of action for placing the crosswalk.
Is it possible to put lights on the sides of the road so drivers will see joggers on the jogging path, while waiting to cross the road (especially by the RR crossing and South Drive)?
Thank you for your question. We appreciate your concern for the safety of our joggers around the base, specifically at the rail road crossings.
Placing overhead lights at this particular crossing is a challenge due to the proximity of the airfield. Due to FAA regulations and airfield criteria that support aircraft safety, significant coordination, and are required at the highest levels of the Air Force.
While this process may prove to be a challenge, there are interim steps we can take to mitigate the lighting concerns. In particular, the Wing purchased more than 1,000 jogging trail lights with our end of year money that will be installed in the coming months.
Due to the quantity and special lens color we requested, we don’t expect to get them installed until the spring. However, once installed, we’re confident these new jogging path lights will mitigate the visibility issue at this location.
Can we add fishing to the intramural sports program?
Thank you for your suggestion. Per the AFI governing intramural sports (AFI 34-266), we’re required to provide at least four major programs at no charge. In an effort to best serve Team Scott, the Force Support Squadron offers seven intramurals programs: softball, basketball, flag football, volleyball, soccer, golf, and bowling. Unfortunately, we are currently not able to expand our intramural program beyond the services we’re already providing.
However, we may be able to expand our offerings in the future. Please stop by the James Gym to discuss any ideas relative to fitness or intramurals with our Fitness Staff, or contact them directly at 256-4524.
Could we save money by pulling DV vehicles from Group Commanders and below?
Yes, we could pull DV vehicles and save money. However, group commanders are authorized a vehicle to directly support our Air Force mission. Air Force Instruction 24-302, Vehicle Management, provides vehicle authorizations to group commanders based on their direct mission requirement to provide mobile command and control functions, respond to incidents, and to attend a large number of meetings, functions, and events at various locations across the installation or in the local area.
Squadron commanders or other leadership positions below group level are typically not authorized vehicles—notable exceptions are made for the Fire Chief and the Security Forces Squadron Commander, who have emergency response requirements to ensure safety and save lives.
The Air Force reassesses vehicle authorizations and mission needs on a recurring basis through the Vehicle Validation Visit process, or VVV. These visits are centrally managed at the AF-level by the Vehicle Supply Chain Operation Squadron and occur every three to five years.
Vehicles are validated based on usage, requirement, and “right-sizing” for changing needs. Our Mission Support Group Commander directly manages this process and function, and he asked that you reach out to him at 256-4614 if you require any additional information.
Why are we receiving email messages from members of our squadron and base organizations that are not digitally signed?
Great observation! You are correct in that emails not digitally signed are suspicious and should not be sent or opened. If you are not aware of the email content or familiar with the sender, please report the incident to your security manager.
Occasionally, organizational accounts are not properly maintained and newly assigned individuals may not have the proper permissions to digitally sign and send the email on behalf of the organization.
In these cases, the email will be released without a digital signature.
However, if the organizational email appears suspicious—report it. National Cyber Security Awareness Month and our annual Information Awareness training include tips on how to protect against cyber risks, and we all have a responsibility to remind email authors to digitally sign their email before hitting send.
In fact, I was gently reminded earlier this year to sign my CC Call Q&A emails by a sharp Airman in our Medical Group (thank you!).
It will take all of us working together to change our habits and behaviors before security practices will be second nature and engrained into our culture. Thank you for bringing up this question, and we will continue to emphasize proper procedures.
Of great interest to most of us is possession of privately owned firearms by DOD personnel not related to the performance of official duties. When can we expect to see the Scott AFB policy for this new, long awaited policy?
Great question. The safety and security of our installation is always at the forefront on my mind, and our leadership team undertook several measures last year to increase our security posture, ensuring we have both effects-based integrated defense and defense-in-depth.
In addition, last month, we received new DoD and AMC-level guidance addressing the security of installations and arming of personnel. We are working the final coordination and legal review of our local policy before implementing the changes at Scott.
I plan to socialize the changes with our mission partners and release the new guidance in early January.
There will be more to follow very soon.