408th CSB, 20th CS conduct joint training
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - Soldiers, Airmen and civilians from the 408th Contracting Support Brigade and the 20th Contract Squadron pose for a group photo here. This team has set the standard with respect to innovative training and mission execution.

By Army Lt. Col. Susan Pooler and Air Force Maj. Joseph Harris

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- U.S. Army Central's 408th Contracting Support Brigade and the Principle Assistant Responsible for Contacting would like to provide thanks to the 20th Contract Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base.

Without a moment's hesitation, personnel from 20th CS stepped forward to provide real time, on-the-job contracting support training for select Servicemembers assigned to 408th CSB Main Command Post personnel while in garrison. The initial six-month rotational training began Oct. 1, 2011.

The 20th CS is comprised of around 45 personnel, including officers, enlisted Servicemembers and civilians. Annually, the squadron awards and administers nearly $100 million worth of construction, services, and commodity/supply contracts in support of missions conducted by the 20th Fighter Wing, Headquarters, 9th Air Force, as well as the U.S. Air Force Central Command. In 2010, their mission expanded to include limited support to Third Army/ARCENT as a tenant unit here.

In addition to service, construction, and commodity contracts, the squadron also manages the Government Purchase Card and Quality Assurance Programs. The GPC program has 400 cardholders and more than $20 million in expenditures per year.

The QA program oversees $40 million in service contracts, and validates contractor performance, ensuring the government receives the contracted services. Servicemembers are highly-trained contingency contracting officers ready to deploy, as well as conduct contract operations in peacetime or combat. Finally, 20th CS is responsible for the execution of the award-winning, and nationally recognized, 20th Fighter Wing's Small Business Program. The squadron makes small business sourcing their solution of choice. As of Sept. 15, 2011, the squadron awarded 90.66% of their contract dollars to small businesses.

The 408th CSB/PARC staff has no contracting mission or capability to solicit, award or administer contract actions. The bulk of the 408th CSB/PARC personnel are continuously deployed forward to Kuwait and Qatar to provide contracting services/support for joint-forces in theater, while a small detachment of the 408th CSB/PARC headquarters staff remains here.

408th CSB/PARC personnel serve on the Third Army headquarters special staff, supporting the commanding general and his staff in planning operations. We have the requirement nested with ARCENT's mission to stay ready to conduct full-spectrum contracting operations anytime, anywhere, in order to defeat our adversaries.

At the Third Army MCP here, the 408th CSB accomplishes the mission by adhering to its motto of: Preparing and coordinating contracting support plans in support of Third Army and various assigned contingency contracting organizations and contracting assets deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

"While the 408th CSB leverages all the tools available at the MCP HQs, Expeditionary Contracting Command, and Army Contracting Command to train acquisition noncommissioned officers, the partnership with the 20th CS will represent an unprecedented step in a joint-training endeavor between sister service contracting organizations, directing and supporting two war-fighting headquarters: AFCENT and ARCENT" said Col. Mike Rogers, commander, 408th CSB and Detroit native.

Contracting is a highly-skilled specialty which requires years of experience, training and education to master. Remaining current and continuing to fine-tune the unique skills needed requires staying abreast of changes and updates to Federal, Department of Defense, and Army contracting regulations and guidance. In an effort to maintain and enhance acquisition NCO duties and responsibilities, the ACC developed an acquisition NCO Level One Proficiency Guide. The training manual identifies 36 separate contracting tasks, conditions and standards to which contract personnel must gain and maintain proficiency.

On Oct. 1, 2011, Staff Sgt. Kenneth Winstead became the first NCO from the 40th CSB to report for the initial six-month on-the-job training rotation at the 20th CS. While on board, Winstead is expected to sharpen his skills in all phases and areas of contracting.

"The men and women of the 20th CS take great pride in what we do, and how we do it," said Maj. Joseph Harris, commander, 20th CS and Cleveland native. "Every 20th CS contracting professional can easily identify where they fit into the U.S. Air Force mission to fly, fight, and win. We are force multipliers, we are wingmen, we are leaders, we are warriors. It is with great pleasure that we share in our professional growth as contracting officers with our Army counterparts. This is truly a win-win for all, both on home station, and in the AOR."

Both organizations envision the opportunity to work together as a winning combination, as both provide real-time contracting support to Soldiers and Airmen here on base while simultaneously training to support our forces down range. Congratulations to the two leadership teams for finding a way to make this training initiative happen.

Page last updated Wed January 18th, 2012 at 00:00