SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — Airmen from the 4th Contracting Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, teamed up with Soldiers from the 419th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for the 2021 Virtual Joint Forces Contracting Exercise (JFCE-21) at Fort Bragg June 21-25, 2021.
The goal of the exercise is to build a trained and ready joint force capable of delivering contracting support and contingency contracting effects during large-scale combat operations.
“We’re practicing our joint interoperability with the Air Force and eventually with all of our sister services because it’s important that we be able to work with each other,” said Army Col. Joel Greer, JFCE-21 director.
The exercise scenario included Army and Air Force contracting forces in the U.S. European Command’s area of responsibility as part of a larger deployment operation to conduct theater support contracting and contingency contracting administrative services.
Army Mission and Installation Combat Command officials said JFCE-21 also revalidates the capability of joint contracting enablers as a force multiplier to increase warfighter readiness, interoperability, flexibility and freedom of movement by leveraging commercial capabilities through contract support and contingency contracting administration services.
“We have to train like we fight and more and more often that’s with our Army counterparts,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Hawkins, 4th Contracting Squadron (CONS) commander. “Exercises like this allow members of both services to lean each other’s vocabularies, experience different procedures and perspectives, and establish and cultivate relationships.”
Airmen found working with their Army counterparts to be beneficial.
“This is my first time working in a joint environment,” said Air Force Airman 1st Class Ethan Phillips, 4th CONS contracting specialist. “It's been beneficial learning different techniques and styles the Army uses.”
Joint exercises aid in preparing Airmen to work in joint environments when deployed down range.
“In the future, there will be no fights that are single-service, especially in contracting,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, Deputy Secretary for Contracting, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in Washington D.C. “We are a high demand, low density force, and Army and Air Force cooperation is critical to operational success.”
(Editor’s Note: Daniel P. Elkins, U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs, contributed to the article)