Changes in the 'Big 3' Published Aug. 14, 2013 By Lt. Col Michael Freeman 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- For most people the "Big 3" refers to the National Basketball Association basketball. Depending on your generation and allegiance people think of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish; Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett; Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker; or LeBron James, Dewayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. But when an Air Force civil engineer thinks of the "Big 3" it is an entirely different meaning. The "Big 3"They are the three largest service contracts that the base maintains:. That is the refuse, grounds, and custodial. These are basic requirements to keep our base sanitary and functioning. We all take care of these needs in our homes by paying to have our trash picked up, cutting our grass, and cleaning. This is usually a small portion of our monthly budgets combined with the investment of time and effort to keep our homes functioning and looking good. On base this work is contracted out. Jointly the civil engineers, contracting officers, and the contractors keep the base looking great with little fanfare. Staff Sgt. David VanHorn, this week's spotlight performer, is a part of that team by providing the government oversight and quality assurance for these contracts. The grass gets cut, after windy nights blown down branches knocked down by the wind are collected and disposed of, and our bathrooms are cleaned and stocked week in and week out. All of this largely unnoticed work comes with significant cost. All together the base will spend over more than one and a half1.5 million dollars on our "Big 3" service contracts this year. This price leads to tight oversight from headquarters Air Mobility Command headquarters. All of our standards are set at HQ AMC, and while our contracts are executed locally, they are all reviewed and approved at HQ by AMC. Given the current financial environment, these contracts are being reduced in order to divert funds to higher priority requirements. The grounds and custodial contracts are both targeted for 25 percent% reductions in cost. AMC is directing reduction in the services provided to meet the cost savings HQ AMC is directing reduction in the services provided. For example all bathrooms will now be cleaned twice per week and debris and litter removal, maintenance of shrubs, and storm cleanup will not be included in the new grounds contract. Some of the reduced services simply won't happen anymore, some will be picked up by the civil engineers, and some will likely transfer back to the squadrons throughout the wing. Much of this unnoticed work will soon become noticed as work is transferred back to airmen in the coming months. The details of these changes are still being developed, but pride of ownership is going to return to our units. With it, we will have to put some of our own time and effort into our facilities here at work just like we do at our homes away from work.