Story by Ed Shannon on 08/06/2019A flexible strategy combined with strong partnerships that focus on taking care of Airmen. That's what helped the Air Force exceed a goal to execute more than 83 percent of its $7 billion installation and mission support portfolio by the July 31 deadline.
Managed by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, the 84.4-percent execution marks the third consecutive year AFIMSC exceeded Air Force Materiel Command's execution goal in the I&MS portfolio. It follows last year's record-setting 84.8 percent execution rate, said Chris Underwood, technical director for financial analysis at AFIMSC's Budget Office.
Riding the wave of momentum from a successful close out the previous fiscal year, AFIMSC budget officials entered fiscal 2019 with a well-defined strategy and an on-time appropriation from Congress. However, initial plans changed quickly only days into the new fiscal year when Hurricane Michael ravaged Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
"No fiscal year better illustrates the innovation and flexibility behind centralized management of the Air Force's I&MS portfolio than fiscal 2019," Underwood said.
AFIMSC cash flowed recovery efforts at Tyndall, the March 2019 flooding at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and the November 2018 earthquake at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, in addition to providing funding for border protection at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
Leadership at the program management offices at Tyndall and Offutt witnessed the impacts of funding made available for recovery.
"AFIMSC's resources team has been critical in making sure we had funding available for immediate response activities and safe lodging and workplaces to continue the mission," said Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon, Tyndall PMO executive director in charge of the rebuild effort.
"With their support, we are making good progress," she said about the recovery efforts. "The supplemental funding has been key to allow us to get the base on the road to recovery and prepare for the first F-35 to arrive in October 2023. Having funding available for design and to start construction of mission-critical facilities is key for us to make that deadline."
A partnership between the base and AFIMSC also enhanced Offutt's recovery from the flood.
"The magnitude of our effort has been eased and supported by AFIMSC, and we are very grateful and appreciative for their support in providing funding to us," said Lt. Col Chris Conover, Offutt PMO director.
Other factors contributed to FY19 execution success, Underwood said.
Working with AFIMSC, installations executed between $300-400 million above straight line consistently every month by moving execution of a sizeable program to the first quarter of the fiscal year. Straight line represents the level of execution needed on average per day to achieve the goal.
Additionally, AFIMSC assumes risk by funding, up front, what installations must pay, such as utilities, base maintenance contracts, and food services. This approach not only builds trust in AFIMSC, it also increases bandwidth in the execution process because installation contracting and civil engineering functions execute funding for must-pay bills only once instead of multiple times during the fiscal year, Underwood said.
"We executed an excellent cash flow management strategy to balance funding for all of the requirements across the portfolio," he said. "While our strategy was huge in the way we were able to push dollars out, it's the installations that put money on contracts and took care of our Airmen. We can't thank installations enough for executing the dollars and resources we pushed to them as early as they could in the fiscal year."
Centralized I&MS funding from Air Force through AFIMSC to installations began in 2015 when AFIMSC activated. Prior to that, each major command received funding from Air Force for distribution to its installations.
In a typical fiscal year, Congress mandates that no more than 20 percent of funding can be spent in August and September. Known as the 80/20 rule, the mandate establishes a requirement to execute 80 percent by July 31. Air Force Materiel Command, AFIMSC's parent command, sets an 83-percent execution goal every year.