Under SecAF talks future, Eglin quality of life

  • Published

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Under Secretary of the Air Force visited the base April 9.

Kristyn Jones, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, met with Team Eglin leadership to get a better understanding of 96th Test Wing range sustainment and modernization efforts. She also sat down with the 96th TW Public Affairs office to discuss re-optimization for Great Power Competition, fiscal year 2025 budget requests, and quality of life improvements for Airmen, Guardians, and their families.

Q. What is the DAF’s focus in terms of re-optimization and GPC in the coming decades?

We're underway now with a sense of urgency, aiming to equip ourselves for both immediate needs and those of the future. Our focus is on four key areas: personnel, capability development, readiness, and power projection. This entails moving from an approach tailored to past conflicts and instead being prepared for any future challenges.

While our priority is to deter conflict, we must also be ready to engage and prevail if necessary. These four areas encompass the various initiatives across the Air Force, Space Force, and the Secretariat, where I work, ensuring we're effectively addressing our needs both now and in the years ahead.

Q. How will re-optimization for GPC affect day-to-day operations for Airmen and Guardians, and how soon should they expect to see these changes?

One area where they will see changes is in our approach to readiness metrics. Readiness is a concern at all levels — are we adequately prepared, and what implications does this hold for our organizations regarding inspections and operational readiness? We're initiating large-scale exercises at levels unprecedented in previous years and placing a greater emphasis on training for both Airmen and Guardians.

Many of the adjustments we're implementing in areas related to training are resource-neutral, involving modifications to our curriculum and a greater focus to address changes we can make immediately, while we simultaneously assess the longer-term resource implications of more significant organizational restructuring efforts.

Q. How will budget requests for fiscal year 2025 improve the quality of life for Airmen and Guardians?

We've allocated substantial funding for quality of life and compensation across various areas, including a significant 4.5% pay raise for our uniformed personnel. Additionally, there are increases to benefits like Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence, underscoring our ongoing commitment to comprehensive compensation aligned with the caring for our personnel as a top priority of the Secretary of Defense.

Recognizing that compensation alone isn't enough, we're also investing heavily in infrastructure improvements such as housing, dormitories, and child development facilities at Eglin. These investments will enhance childcare capacity for the broader military community served by Eglin.

Q. Can you elaborate on any long-term strategies the DAF is considering addressing housing affordability?

Currently, the quadrennial review of military compensation is underway, examining various aspects such as basic pay and housing arrangements. Concurrently, internal to the DoD, we're refining metrics for reviewing housing standards, to ensure that our airmen and guardians are free from concerns about affordability of housing for their families. Our goal is to enable them to concentrate on their mission while ensuring they have access to the quality housing they deserve.