An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

In the money

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alex Lowe
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Public Affairs

From supplying drinking water and vehicles to new construction projects for an ever-growing base, the 379th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron is one of the few units to play a part in every aspect of the installation.

When a unit discovers a need or comes up with an idea, it is the 379th ECONS that helps turn that into reality. As a contracting squadron, they liaise the needs of wing, tenant, and coalition units with local vendors and hire contractors to facilitate the mission.

Working closely with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, the 379th ECONS construction flight procures the supplies needed to build new facilities, repair infrastructure, and replace equipment while minimizing costs.

“First and foremost, our biggest priority is being a good steward to the taxpayer dollar,” said the 379th ECONS construction flight commander.

When purchasing supplies and equipment, the construction flight focuses on reaching the technical demands of the request at the lowest price. In addition, in a deployed environment, speed is another factor in the equation.

The squadron can meet both of those requirements through a process known as contracting vehicles, which also lowers the burden on their already thinly spread personnel.

These 5-year contracting vehicles fulfill requests through a pool of vetted vendors matching the unit’s technical needs. This process reduces the time needed to gather quotes from vendors and eliminates the need to vet and process new vendors for on-base travel.

Contracting vehicles also establish long-standing relations with local vendors, improving project communication and continuity.

Correctly ensuring the renewal process significantly impacts future rotations.

“Getting the contracting vehicles set up right in the beginning is important to prevent issues from snowballing years down the road,” said the 379th ECONS services flight commander.

The contracting services flight fills a similar role working with the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron. They supply the base with everything from drinking water and transportation to internet access and recreational activities.

The dining facilities on base, which provide over 125,000 meals monthly, are 100% contractor-run. Programs like the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP) facilitate units with civilian personnel to shore up any gaps in the workforce. The contractors that makeup AFCAP also help ensure continuity beyond the standard 6-month rotation and provide expertise in their respective fields.

“When we contract for professional services or people to augment, they bring a different skill set,” said the AFCAP admin contracting officer. “When you combine that with military personnel, you can cover a lot more ground.”

One of the ways contracting manages their ever-growing workload is through government purchase cards that allow units to handle purchases under $35,000 within their unit. The Agency/Organization Program Coordinator trains and advises the unit cardholders. GPCs allow faster acquisition of routine supplies and equipment for units while ensuring approval through contracting squadrons, the only personnel officially allowed to obligate taxpayer dollars.

Through efficient planning and astute processes, the 379th ECONS continues to manage and adapt to the growing workload necessary to meet the needs of the mission.