Behind the scenes with contracting

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
At a glance around McConnell, a person may see multiple on-going construction projects, equipment being delivered and supplies being ordered. None of these activities could happen without the 22nd Contracting Squadron.

"Contracting is literally all around you," said Maj. Mark Wagner, 22nd CONS commander. "If you look at a KC-135 Stratotanker, you'll probably see a complete plane, but if you were to change that into paper, there could be thousands of contracts that go into it."

That equipment in one way or another had to be ordered and purchased through the 22nd CONS. The squadron is broken down into three different sections, simplified, construction and services, which handle nearly every purchase on base.

Together these three sections manage contracts currently totaling more than $36 million.

"We have to understand a little about everyone's job," said Wagner. "Our job here is to get all the squadrons what they need to get their jobs done."

Not only does the contracting squadron buy the equipment needed, but they also ensure each contractor who works on base; is paid correctly and on time.

Contracting Airmen could also be considered negotiators as they receive requests from customers it's their job to solicit the job and look for contractors or parts to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

"I don't think that many people know we have our hand in pretty much everything that goes on around base," said Senior Airman Matthew Hammond, 22nd CONS contract administrator. "We bring in smaller things like printer paper all the way up to larger things like computers, medical equipment and the doctors and nurses who use it."

It's important that the contract administrators, who take the initial request and are responsible for finding the contractors and equipment to meet the needs of the request, to understand the missions of their assigned squadron because a challenge they run into is getting the specifics of what a customer actually needs.

"Getting information can be the toughest part," said Hammond. "Sometimes we don't get enough information from the customer and sometimes the request is too specific so we have to cut out some of the bells and whistles of what they want."

The contracting squadron is also responsible for finding people to fill personnel slots on base that military members are not trained for and finding it for the best price.

"We're really working hard behind the scenes here," added Hammond. "Toward the end of the year it gets pretty busy. We're going to need the help of every squadron to let us know what they need to help keep the mission running smoothly."

Contracts and contract administrators are just one way of showing what goes where and how everything little thing comes together to complete one big mission.