By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — To recap 2011 and look at what’s coming in 2012, Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander, held a wing all-call Dec. 16. Crawford called on members from the information assurance office, the civilian personnel office, and the judge advocate’s office to provide special briefs.
1st Lt. Jerad Sayler, communication squadron plans, policies and guidance flight deputy, gave a briefing on the misuse of USB devices, common access cards and privacy act information.
“Any device that has any internal memory such as iPod, iPhones, even your government-issued Blackberries, are not allowed to connect to the network,” Sayler said.
The communication squadron receives a notification every time an unauthorized device is connected to the network, he said. “We’ll have to confiscate the device because you are compromising the network with an external media device.”
Sayler also said there have been issues with leaving CACs and privacy act information unattended. “You have to make sure that you’re pulling your CAC out of the computer. If you find somebody’s CAC lying around or connected to the computer, disconnect it, turn it into your information assurance officer or your security manager, or give it to your buddy.”
Privacy act information is anything personally identifiable to an individual and is equally important to protect. “You don’t want to leave the privacy act material unattended and if you’re going to have it out on your desk, have a cover sheet on it,” Sayler said.
Civilian personnel have had their ears wide open in 2011 to discussions about the ongoing reductions in force.
Tonya Bonner, civilian personnel officer, said that those who were accepted for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority or Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay programs have already retired.
A second round of VERA/VSIP reductions are proposed for April, she said. More information will be available in January and anyone eligible will be notified.
The Air Force Civilian Hiring Freeze was lifted Dec. 15, Bonner said. However, Peterson Complex will continue to have some form of hiring controls in place. All requests to fill vacancies will be reviewed by civilian personnel for possible placement of employees who were notified last month that their positions were being abolished.
“This measure is taken to avoid involuntary separation actions of our most valuable asset, our employees,” she said. Once the request to fill a vacancy has been cleared for recruitment by civilian personnel and determined as mission critical by leadership, the vacancy will be forwarded to the Air Force Personnel Center for recruitment.
Maj. Kristin McCall, deputy staff judge advocate, and Capt. Danko Princip, chief of adverse action, discussed the top three ways to stay safe and out of trouble through the holidays and into 2012.
The first, Princip said, is to stay away from Spice, also known as K-2 or Colorado Chronic. It is a federally controlled substance and illegal, he said. Spice is dangerous because no one knows for sure what might be in it. “It is a toxic concoction of synthetic chemicals someone cooked up,” he said.
Incidents of drinking and driving have also been on the rise, McCall said. “If you drink and drive, it is not going to turn out well for you, and I’m talking beyond the possible implication of killing yourself or killing others on the road. It’s going to have serious career implications to you,” she said.
If caught drinking and driving off base, individuals have to pay for their own attorney and cannot receive any assistance from the JAG. If caught on base, individuals are responsible for any property damage that might have occurred. “You could be looking at a court martial,” McCall said. “Do not drink and drive.”
Our mission is to dominate the high ground, McCall said, but that doesn’t include the high from smoking marijuana. “The (Department of Defense) and the Air Force has our drug levels at a high level, and that level basically means that if you pop hot for marijuana use, you’re not getting that from just being around it.” If you test positive during a urinalysis screening, McCall said, there isn’t much that can be done to defend you.
As with many new year’s resolutions, money is an issue for the wing as well.
The word “budget” has been on everyone lips during 2011. The 21st Space Wing, Crawford said, has done a lot in the past year to lead the way in innovation. “We have tons of examples of things we are doing to save money and become more efficient,” he said.
Projects include installing exhaust boilers at Thule Air Base, Greenland, to more efficiently heat the buildings, recycling scrap metal at Thule for $1 million, changing the watering schedule at the golf course, and building a new energy-efficient child development center.
“While things are going to be tougher, while resources are going down and changes are coming, 2012 is not going to be the end of the world,” Crawford said.
Crawford said the wing has already received a commitment from Air Force Space Command to pay the $13 million the wing was short to pay the utilities for the new year.
“We are in the business of defending the nation and we’re going to have to do that with what we’re allocated. The good news is, we’ve been allocated more than most to do that,” Crawford said.