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386th ECONS Airmen ensure procurement of supplies

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Arielle Vasquez
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Without the proper tools and manpower to accomplish daily tasks, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing mission would come to a halt. This is where the 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron steps in to enhance mission success by keeping other units running at full speed.

The 386th ECONS works to obtain the best value for goods or services for base members, while striving for customer satisfaction in terms of cost, quality and timeliness. The squadron comprises of base operation support, infrastructure and government purchase card flights.

“We are here to provide agile contracting support to U.S. and coalition forces for anything they need that is within reason,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Brammer, 386th ECONS contracting officer. “Every unit has their own mission to accomplish, so having us as the middle man to acquire necessary supplies and locate local contractors helps them to focus on what they need to do.”

The Airmen with 386th ECONS have the responsibility of operating as a contingency contracting officers, having ability to obligate $1.5 million or more in contracts to support missions throughout U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s area of responsibility.

“Before we are able to manage multimillion dollar contracts, a test is required that covers over 4,000 pages of regulations,” said Senior Airman Joshue Madilar, 386th ECONS contracting officer. “As contracting officers in a contingency environment, we need to have the flexibility to have a warrant for these type of purchases and have multiple people with the power to do so.”

Several of the contracts that the squadron supports include construction projects, Wi-Fi, cell phone services and non-appropriated fund contracts.

Once receiving requirements packages with relevant documents and certified funding from units, the 386th ECONS reviews them and conducts market research to find available sources capable of fulfilling requirements as well as recommending ways forward for the acquisition process.

Before a contract is even signed, there is planning and preparation involved in what could sometimes be a lengthy process. During the initial stages of a contract, squadron members are informed of a requirement. Following this, the process include drafting a Statement of Work, researching the market prices, obtaining capability information from vendors, as well as designing and estimating cost data for construction projects.

While any contract can be extensive, Madilar said that contracts are awarded in a shorter period of time due to working in an expeditionary environment.

“Stateside, it usually takes about 30-90 days to have a contract awarded from its conception to becoming an actual contract, depending on the dollar value” he said. “Here, the process typically takes two to three weeks as it must to be shortened for the sake of urgency.”

The 386th ECONS Airmen have all said that it takes a team effort to accomplish what they do every day.

“I am appreciative of having all this experience around,” said 1st Lt. Jessica Cooper, 386th ECONS contracting officer. “We seem to have a solid group of people here and we are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.”

From the planning stages to fruition, the contracting Airmen ensure contracts are executed smoothly and continue to foster a positive working relationship between the units and contractors working alongside them.