You Fly, We Buy

  • Published
  • By Maj. Wesley Batot
  • 14th Contracting Squadron

What is contracting and how does it relate to the Air Force mission? The military’s use of contracting can be traced back to the American Revolution.  During the conflict, the Continental Army lacked the experience and resources to win the war.  Our forefathers turned to defense contractors to provide food, horses, wagons, weapons, scouting services, and many other needs that were required to fight the enemy.  The history of contracting in the US military has traversed every major conflict, Department of Defense (DOD) weapon system development and was critical to the establishment and sustainment of military installations across the globe.  

Air Force Contracting personnel are the heart of a complex process relying on sound business acumen to deliver innovative and strategic business solutions that include everything from satellites, electronics, high performance aircraft, supplies, services, and construction necessary for the day-to-day operations of our military installations. As mission focused business leaders, Air Force contracting experts are charged with leveraging quantitative skill sets to analyze proposals, negotiate, execute, and administer contracts in accordance with law and regulation. Our Contracting personnel are also required to complete congressionally mandated training and certification standards through the Defense Acquisition University DAU. After completing the necessary training requirements, passing the Air Force Contracting Officer test, and meeting the required experience levels, Air Force Contracting members can earn their Contracting Officer warrant. The warrant is the most sought-after responsibility in the contracting career field. Once a member becomes a warranted Contracting Officer, they are part of the only community in the DOD that can obligate the US Government. Warrant levels vary from $250,000, $1 million, $5 million, $25 million, up to an unlimited warrant. 

Here at Columbus AFB, the 14th Contracting Squadron (CONS) is an operational contracting unit comprised of 38-person squadron that oversee $100 million in yearly obligations for 17 squadrons and 15 agencies within three groups. The team is also charged with sustaining $1.4 billion in real property, directs a $5 million yearly Government Purchase Card GPC program, and manages a $473 million contract portfolio, which includes aircraft maintenance. Our squadron is filled with contracting managers, and Contracting Officers who are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to any humanitarian disaster, contingency, or operational need for the 14th Flying Training Wing.  The next time your organization needs supplies, services, or construction, please contact your local Contracting Squadron.