Be around the Air Force for a while and one will know exactly what this means in workhours consumption. Massive amounts of hours are consumed by enlisted and civilian personnel doing these functions noted in title. Yes...during the workday most often. Qtrly/Annual awards process burns up all sorts of time drafting up the awards, refining them, deciding on awardees, using GPC funds to buy the awards, etc...For the framing actions, there are big differences between what officers in leadership positions receive and what enlisted are receiving, if anything. The gatherings usually take place after work but costs are still involved. Enlisted personnel don't have deep pockets for all these events. For birthday parties, time is consumed and others usually chip in $$$ to present cake, misc, etc.... Slush funds pay for some of this, profit from re-selling items bought from commissary. Many hours are spent on these functions. Air Force personnel seem to have more time than Army, Navy and Marines, who certainly don't do these jobs. They work on mission priorities and getting rested to go off to the fight in AORs, again and again. The AF is tied up on the awards process beyond belief. Scale down the awards process and the AF will gain much more time for real mission tasks.