Thursday, January 15, 2009

COMMENTARY>>19th Contracting Squadron provides contingency support

By Lt. Col. Mitchell Appley
19th Contracting Squadron commander

It’s probably a little known fact that Air Force Contracting Professionals are the first in and last out on any contingency mission. Air Force Contracting Professionals are the only ones with the capability, expertise and depth to execute the contingency contracting war effort. Along with Security Forces, Civil Engineers, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Intel, Public Affairs, the Office of Special Investigations and some of the other Air Force support career fields, Air Force Contingency Contracting deployments are filling joint taskings with longer than standard Air Expeditionary Force tour lengths and dwell rates at 1:2 or lower. In fact, last month the Chief of Staff of the Air Force approved re-banding or re-posturing the contracting career field to Tempo Band Echo. For over two years now, Air Force Contracting has moved off the established AEF system and made all of our taskings, both Air Force and Joint Task Forces around the globe, 179 day tour minimums and established 365 day tours for several key positions.

The Gansler Commission, an independent Commission established by the Secretary of the Army to review Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations, said, “although providing contracting support to the Army and the Marine Corps is not an Air Force Mission…the Air Force provides over 67 percent of the Joint Contracting Command Iraq/Afghanistan, JCC-I/A, contracting resources supporting ground forces and is handling the most complex contract actions such as reconstruction operations.”

Over 26 percent of contingency contracting officers assigned to Little Rock AFB are deployed at any one time and this commitment will continue to increase as Air Force contracting support, as a percentage of the joint fight, is expected to grow significantly over the coming months. Our enlisted force is at 72 percent manning and 30 percent of our overall force are lieutenants or senior airmen and below. The demands placed on Air Force Contracting are high but the honor and importance associated with what we are doing to support the joint fight; ensuring Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines will have the equipment and supplies they need to complete their daily mission, is without comparison. Air Force contracting is proud to be part of the joint fight. I am very proud of the 19th Contracting Squadron’s enlisted and officer personnel who are currently deployed or have been deployed as well as our civilian workforce who carry the burden here at home.


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