Air Force saves cash by changing cell phone rate plans

Wednesday - 6/16/2010, 1:35pm EDT

By Rachel Stevens
Federal News Radio

The Air Force plans to save millions of dollars by changing the rate plans for thousands of its cell phone accounts.

Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag says the measure is a part of the Obama administration's goal to reduce government waste. The idea came from the SAVE Awards program, in which OMB asked federal employees for cost-cutting ideas.

One fed suggested that the Air Force's mobile plans often did not correspond well with the actual usage of the phones, wasting taxpayers' money. As a result, about 10,000 Air Force phone plans will be modified.

"Now, in the same way that American families pick their cell phone plans based on their call habits, the Air Force can save taxpayer dollars by selecting plans that better reflect actual call time usage," Orszag wrote in a memo released today.

Orszag says the Air Force will also look at accounts that aren't used over a six-month period and decide whether those accounts can be deleted.

The swap is expected to save $2 million in 2011 and $2.1 million annually between 2012 and 2015. It comes as a part of a broader Department of Defense initiative to cut its spending by $10 billion.

Orszag encouraged government workers to continue to submit their thrifty ideas.

"Federal employees know firsthand what works and what doesn't and are some of the best equipped to help us spot inefficiencies and areas for improvement," he said.

Rachel Stevens is an intern at Federal News Radio.

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