The current budget model to fund operational units based on operational hours is flawed. While specifically addressing Coast Guard aviation, this concept applies across DHS and DOD. At a typical unit, funding is primarily based on number of flight hours that the unit will fly. The budget is split between operational costs and fuel costs. As an example for a single unit, $3M to operational costs and $7M to fuel costs, for at total of $10M. Each year we jump through great hoops to ensure every hour in every category assigned is flown, whether required or not, to ensure future funding. Time and time again, we would fly simply for the sake of flying and over the course of the year, have very little to measure, other than the success of using the $7M in fuel. While the $10M in this unit specific example is a good starting point, it should never be the finishing point. Estimated savings due to flying only required, mission specific flying would save approximately 50% of the fuel budget. The $3M is basic overhead. So in this example $3M + $3.5=$7.5M, an overall potential savings of 25%. (50% of the fuel budget). Additionally, money not spent should be able to be rolled into future years budget at a rate of approxmately 120%. During the first year or two there may be drastic reductions that may experience some variability, but still a great advantage over the current system.
Idea No. 3029