ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE — Air Force Materiel Command commander Gen. Donald J. Hoffman spoke Monday at Robins Air Force Base, warning Robins employees that budget constraints will soon affect Robins operations. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center is an AFMC subordinate unit.
“We have a lot of challenges in the Air Force right now,” Hoffman said. “Resourcing problems are our number one challenge. ... We are at a leveling point right now in our funding.”
Hoffman spoke for about 30 minutes at an Air Force Association-sponsored luncheon at Horizons restaurant on base, taking about a half-dozen questions from Robins employees afterward. Hoffman did not make himself available to the media after his remarks.
When asked by a junior airman about the future of his command, Hoffman replied that he wanted to see an increase in AFMC funding, but “I see further budget pressures forcing us to readjust.”
Hoffman’s warning seems to provide a contradiction with recent events in his command at Robins. The 402nd Maintenance Wing, an AFMC unit based at Robins, is in the process of hiring 700 additional workers to help with aircraft maintenance. The Air Force has submitted a $337 million supplemental funding request to help catch up with backlogged maintenance work under the Air Force Materiel Command.
If recent comments by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates are any indication, the Pentagon’s belt tightening will begin this fiscal year. Last spring in a speech in Abilene, Kan., Gates said that a “gusher” of defense spending “has been turned off and will stay off for a good period of time.”
Gates has since ordered each service to find billions of dollars in annual spending cuts. Gates expects the Air Force to find $2 billion in savings by 2012. Hoffman arrived at Robins on Sunday and is scheduled to leave the base this afternoon. He will visit the 402nd Software Maintenance Group and tour base housing facilities today.
To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.