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CC Message: Listening to you

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The last couple of weeks I've been out and about in an attempt to really understand the furlough impacts. Unfortunately, travel restrictions have prevented spending time at each location, but the messages appear similar across the Center. It's easy to see the mission degradation, but I really wanted to understand the first-hand personal impacts. I have been impressed with the depth and frankness of the conversations and stories I've heard. It's clear the furloughs are taking a toll both at work and on the home front.

The implementation of furloughs within the Department of Defense is difficult for a workforce that contributes so much to our Nation's security. Despite the Air Force's steps to mitigate the impact of sequestration, it was not enough to resolve the severe budget shortfall. The furloughs have a direct impact on all of you. Having said that, I want everyone to know just how proud I am of how you are handling the situation. I'm impressed with the dedication that enables you to separate the furlough mandate from the mission need. It says a lot about the caliber of our civilian workforce and your patriotism. I'm proud to be on the same team with each and every one of our teammates.

I continue to be optimistic that both the Department of Defense and Congressional leadership can step in and reduce the number of furlough days, but currently no agreements have been reached.

If you are struggling financially, all of our communities have been energized to support. Please don't struggle in silence. All facets of the community, to include local charities, state and local governments, businesses, banks, creditors and counselors, have pledged support during this very challenging time. This is a case where help is available for you: seek it out. Don't let a short-term problem cause a painful long-term solution. Lastly, when times are tough, the wingman principles are needed most. If you see a coworker who needs assistance, please engage.

Much like what happened after some of the traumatic events of the past year, the communities came out with an attitude to be "strong." I'm hopeful that it will only be a few more weeks before we'll be back in step and demonstrating to everyone what "AFSC Strong" can achieve.

Thank you for everything you do for our Air Force and our Nation.

Keep 'em flying...it's what we do!

Bruce

BRUCE A. LITCHFIELD
Lieutenant General, USAF
Commander, AFSC