TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The final months of FY19 proved to be the most challenging and rewarding quarter yet for Tyndall Air Force Base when the June 2019 Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act increased the installation’s annual operations and maintenance budget by a massive 450 percent.
Under the act, O&M funding assigned $56 million to sustain regular base operations with an additional $358.4 million allotted for Hurricane Michael recovery under the facility sustainment restoration modernization designation – which is 10 times more than Tyndall’s typical FSRM budget of $30 million.
“For any normal base to recover from a natural disaster and get to the point where its obligating 10 times more in funding is a Herculean achievement,” said Col. Travis Leighton, Tyndall Program Management Office director. “Most people doing this work were dealing with their own lives and families at home and then coming in to develop requirements, manage and award contracts, and contribute to getting the base back to normal.”
It was an all-hands team effort in a completely unprecedented situation, said Leighton.
Tyndall will also receive an additional $577.6 million over the next five years for new military construction projects.
Under normal conditions, the process to receive funding for MILCON or FSRM projects is lengthy. Due to the unique circumstances, the Supplemental Act expedited critical funding prior to the end of FY19.
Working with an enormous amount of funding and projects has been a once in a lifetime experience for budget officer, Capt. Meara McCarthy of the 325th Comptroller Squadron.
“We received a significant portion of our funding in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, meaning we had a very short amount of time to execute a huge amount of money,” said McCarthy. “Ultimately, we had one quarter to execute about four and a half times the amount of money that we do in an entire year.”
McCarthy credits the cohesiveness of the “fiscal triad” for the success.
Comprised of civil engineering, contracting and comptrollers, the group determines project requirements, conducts necessary economic and environmental assessments to secure funding, and awards contracts to begin design planning and construction.
Once the requirements and funding are in place, the contracting cycle can take up to 120 days to award. For Lt. Col. Steven Fletcher, 325th Contracting Squadron commander, the supplemental funding demanded new solutions for an expedited process.
“We established a memorandum of agreement between Air Force Civil Engineer Center and Air Force Installation Contracting Center to utilize decentralized ordering procedures on the Regional Engineering and Construction Contract,” said Fletcher. “We were authorized a $100 million ceiling to provide construction services to support the Tyndall Hurricane Michael recovery and rebuild. We executed more than 40 projects in the last 90 days of the fiscal year. It was extremely fast paced and nothing like we’ve ever seen.”
Capt. Sean Murphy, deputy engineering flight chief for the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron, has been working to implement these projects and has been key to determining the building priorities and requirements.
“FSRM Projects awarded in FY19 included everything from repairs to the commissary to fixing dorms and other major buildings on base,” said Murphy. “We also awarded two MILCON projects, which include the Air Battle Manager Simulator and a new fire station. Newly repaired buildings will be resilient to future storms and technologically comparable to the future MILCON projects.”
Tyndall’s leadership could not be more appreciative of the hard work by each of the Airmen involved with the rebuild and getting the much needed supplemental funding for the base.
“I am so proud of the Tyndall Airmen, both military and civilian, who used every bit of their professional expertise to distribute the FY19 funding in the incredibly short time that we gave them,” said Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander. “I hope the comptrollers, contracting officers and Air Force engineers in the future look back on what these Airmen accomplished and see it as an example of what right looks like in our service. Tyndall’s future is bright because of these officers and all the Airmen they lead. It is at their pace that we sprint toward delivery of our first F-35 fighter aircraft in September of 2023.”
For Leighton, the funding represents more than just a lifeline for Tyndall.
“It is evident of the Air Force’s desire to transform Tyndall into the ‘Installation of the Future,’” he said. “This is a tangible symbol that we are here to stay and will continue to deliver airpower for our nation.’’
For more information on the progress the Tyndall AFB PMO is making on the rebuild at the base, visit https://www.afimsc.af.mil/TyndallPMO/.