by John Parker
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
4/21/2014 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Innovation
and cost-saving ideas will help ensure the Air Force keeps its
warfighting readiness despite significant, ongoing budget cuts, the
commander of Air Force Space Command recently told a Tinker audience.
General William L. Shelton spoke April 15 in Bldg. 4029 to about 90
members of the 38th Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group.
"If there ever was a time for innovation, this is it," General Shelton
said. "That's the only way we're going to get through these next few
years of declining budgets. We have to think our way through this.
"There's that famous old saying - we've run out of money and now we have to think. That's where we're at."
The native Oklahoman praised the more than 650-member group's
cutting-edge work around the globe. He ticked off a list of major
achievements for 38th CEIG in the past year. They included 17 quarterly
and four annual awards at the wing level.
Wing members also managed and implemented 216 communications
modernization projects at 85 bases, said General Shelton, who is based
at Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
"That's just an amazing list of accomplishments, and I hope you're all
proud of that," General Shelton said. "I hope you see it the same way I
do for the effect that it's having across the Air Force - not just
inside the cyber family, but literally every Airman across the Air Force
is affected by what you do. It's just tremendous work."
The 38th CEIG is described as the Air Force's premier engineering and
installation group - "the backbone of the cyberspace domain." Airmen and
civilian members engineer and install cyberspace infrastructure for
communications and offensive and defensive air, space and cyberspace
The general said he's never seen anything like the cuts facing the
military through Congress' sequestration law. The 2011 law led to deep,
across-the-board cuts when Congress failed to reach agreement on more
targeted spending cuts.
"In almost a 38-year career, I've never seen anything that's this
serious in terms of what we're throwing at our leadership, what we're
throwing at our people and what we're expecting people to do with fewer
resources," General Shelton said.
In budget planning, General Shelton described how Air Force leaders
wrestle with directives imposed by Congress and the secretary of
defense, all the while meeting the branch's mission to fight and win
wars ranging from insurgencies to near-peer conflicts.
He told group members that the budget realities are "our time." It's a challenge to be embraced, the general said.
"Whatever you can do to come up with solutions that really do save us
money, and provide additional capability across the Air Force, we're all
for it," General Shelton said. "I'll be the greatest champion for those
solutions, because we need them."