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continue to be hugely impressed by the contribution our personnel are making, both at home and on operations, and with the exceptional support that we receive from our families, who provide the essential

foundation for all that we do. I am also acutely aware of the significant period of turbulence and uncertainty that the Service has experienced recently and the unrelenting tempo of activity that we face. While Afghanistan remains our main effort, we have performed exceptionally in Libya over the past 6 months and your commitment rightly attracts significant praise from the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary and the UK public at large.

I know that many of you remain understandably concerned about the future and we are working extremely hard to minimise the impact of uncertainty, change and budgetary cuts on you and your families. To help in this, the RAF Families Federation plays a critical role in championing and representing your views and this will be particularly important following notification of Tranche 1 redundancies on 1 Sep 11. Many of you will have been waiting anxiously for the redundancy announcement and we will need to be alert to the fact that the impact for those personnel selected, and their families, will be far-reaching. While unwelcome, the RAF Redundancy Programme is necessary. The Strategic Defence and Security Review requires us to reduce the size of the RAF by around 5,000 personnel before April 2015, and to ensure that we have a balanced force with the right skills, across the trades and ranks, it was necessary to consider both non-applicants and applicants. This will be little comfort to those personnel selected for redundancy but rest assured that I and my Air Force Board Colleagues, supported by the Chain of Command and the RAF Families Federation, will do everything in our power to ensure that those selected for redundancy and their families receive the support that they need.

Over the Summer, many of you will have seen the ‘headline’ announcements on a number of Defence-wide Reviews. As a result of these Reviews, the RAF can begin to move forward with clarity and certainty in order to maintain its position as a word-class Air Force to 2020 and beyond. As part of this work, we have also issued the latest

edition of the annual People Campaign Plan. Since 2008, this has successfully delivered a range of measures including improvements to Career Management, the introduction of Station Community Support Officers, the launch of operational

stress management training, and the

allocation of £27M of funding for seven integrated welfare facilities. This year there is significant work underway to introduce around 90 measures including £3.6M of additional public funding to improve our welfare provision. The RAF Central Fund will also make around £1M available to support a variety of major and minor welfare projects across the RAF. We have also relaxed the rules on carrying forward leave, introduced leave for some mid-assignment accommodation moves and extended Compassionate Leave for Service personnel with caring responsibilities. This is only the start and working through the Chain of Command, my Briefing Teams and the RAF Families’ Federation, I will continue to ensure that you receive the support that you need, and that our focus remains on improving the areas where you have real and enduring concerns.

I hope that you find this edition of Envoy to be informative. It contains a variety of perspectives from across the RAF Family, including a fascinating view of the magnificent work of our Medical Teams in Afghanistan, a look into the highs and lows of living overseas, how we are informing work on the future of both our families and single accommodation, and a number of thought-provoking articles on how Service life affects our children. These articles only touch on the breadth and depth of life in the RAF and the key role of our Families Federation. Help them to help you and take the opportunity to give them your views on the issues that matter most, either directly or through the on- line surveys available on the Families Federation website. 

Envoy Autumn 2011


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