Funding innovation: Team Whiteman’s 2018 dollars go farther! Published Sept. 6, 2018 By Maj. Earl Alexander, 509th Comptroller Squadron commander 509th Comptroller Squadron WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE -- -- With the 3.7 percent plus-up to the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense appropriation, 2018 will end as a banner year for the 509th Bomb Wing and I wanted to highlight a couple of funding successes the wing has had thus far.To increase readiness and lethality, and promote a culture of innovation, the Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General David Goldfein, authorized an additional $950,000 to the 509th BW’s existing budget.The $950,000 consisted of $500,000 for commanders’ readiness and $450,000 for squadron innovation.Commanders’ readiness funds gave Wing Commander Brig. Gen. John Nichols the flexibility and authority to fund wing efforts to increase readiness and lethality. The funds were put to good use, purchasing items and supporting programs that directly improved the readiness of our security forces, force support, maintenance, and medical teams.Squadron innovation funds promote a culture of innovation by empowering and enabling squadron commanders and their Airmen to creatively solve problems. One of the wing’s innovation initiatives was to improve our fitness center by building an outdoor, covered functional fitness area. The additional square footage will substantially increase our fitness areas to better accommodate the base populace (construction started in August).The 3.7 percent increase to the Defense appropriation also included a $110 million increase in Facility Sustainment Restoration, and Modernization (FSRM) dollars. Additionally, Team Whiteman has been extremely successful in obtaining additional FSRM dollars to fund critical projects across the installation.We have demonstrated our ability to smartly execute and prepare projects, earning the wing an additional $7.8 million in FSRM this summer. The additional $7.8 million went towards several FSRM projects that will increase mission success and improve quality of life. With the additional funding, 27-year-old air conditioning units were replaced in our B-2 simulator facility, ensuring the facility remains operational — keeping our skilled B-2 pilots current and effective.Another huge win for the wing is our project to convert the grass infield at the base running track to artificial turf. The new field will be a significant quality of life improvement as well as reduce the number of injuries due to field conditions (construction starts in September).Your tax dollars are being spent smartly and wisely on what matters, enabling the execution of strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support … anytime, anywhere!