How does force support funding work, anyway?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Christopher Busque
  • 49th Force Support Squadron commander
One of the most common questions I get as the 49th Force Support Squadron commander is, "How does all that money stuff work?" Well, let me tell you, it's not as complicated as it may seem. See, the 49th FSS is like a business ... kind of. Actually, we're more like a non-profit organization than anything. That means our business operations (like the golf course, bowling center, arts and crafts, etc.) sustain themselves through their earnings and rely on customers like you to keep their doors open. Any profit we generate is returned to our base's morale, welfare and recreation fund for reinvestment. So every dollar we make, regardless of where we make it, goes right back toward improving our programs and activities ... and your quality of life.

You may have heard a recent buzz about club membership and wondered what that's all about. Club membership is a program that rewards our VIP customers through additional give-back programs called "member's first discounts." For example, going to a UFC fight will carry a $10 cover charge for non-members, but for members it's free! Dueling pianos on March 17th will be $10 for non-members, but cost nothing for those who show their Club membership card. Also, club members get discounts at special functions and events as well as a dollar off every meal at both clubs and Oasis Pizza. Once a month, members get treated to a half-off lunch special at the Raptors' Nest. All this comes for the small price of just $1 per stripe a month, or $15 for officers and up to $15 for civilians. So, an E-4 will be "making back" their membership dues just by eating at the club once a week; after that, the rest is gravy!

In addition to the savings you get from club membership, there's the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to a great cause: improving the quality of life at Holloman AFB. The money 49th FSS receives from membership allows us to invest in great initiatives improving operations and community programs.

As the commander, many people think I have the authority to spend this money on whatever I want, but it's not that easy. The system is set up with checks and balances to ensure we make sound investments and get the most bang for your buck. The forum where these financial decisions are made is called the NAF Council. The council meets quarterly and is chaired by our wing commander and includes the command chief and representatives from the comptroller squadron, legal, the first sergeants council, contracting, and the chaplain. During these meetings, we approve how to best invest in our community programs.

Some examples of these contributions include the new high-definition televisions in the Desert Sands Bar ($17,000), new sporting equipment at Outdoor Rec ($54,000), and the free shopping day we did for parents in December at the CDC ($3,00) - and that's just scratching the surface. See, the 49th FSS also pays for all our big base festivities. So an event like last year's "Red, White, and BOOM" Independence Day celebration ($31,000) was made available through club membership and your direct support of our squadron business activities. Other give-back programs we funded last year include:

- Children's Holiday Fest ($4,000)
- Tops in Blue ($4,000)
- Spring Fling ($6,000)
- Bands on the Mesa ($1,500)
- Loan Closet ($3,000)
- Chaplain programs like the ReFuel Café ($2,000) and
- The Cookie Wagon ($284)

So, if you hear rumors that the 49th FSS is getting rich off events like Oktoberfest, just know it's all going toward a good cause: improving the quality of life at Holloman AFB. In fact, we spent more than $535,000 improving our programs and giving back last year, and are looking to do it up even bigger this year with events like Resiliency Day, Easter Egg Hunt, a "Tattoo" event (visit and look for more local information on soon), Independence Day, Missoula Children's Theater, Sports Days, and Fall Festival. If there's something additional you'd like to see, fill out an ICE comment card @ or better yet become a club member and let us know what's on your mind.