USAFE deputy commander praises contracting professionals

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa deputy commander, praised U.S. Air Force contracting professionals assigned to the Kaiserslautern Military Community and surrounding areas, on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 19, 2018, for their resiliency and ability to push through a particularly challenging fiscal year.

The event provided an opportunity for the deputy commander to engage with the multiple U.S. Air Force contracting offices in the KMC.

“I’ve had an opportunity to look at the details of all the things our contracting professionals have been working on, not just recently but throughout the year, and it’s impressive,” said Harrigian. “The thing that really jumped out at me was their ability to deliver on time in support of the mission.”

Representation from KMC contracting offices in attendance included, but was not limited to, U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Wegner, Air Force Installation Contracting Agency Operating Location - Europe contracting director, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Clarence Burton, 700th Contracting Squadron commander.

“Listening to Lt. Gen. Harrigian was important because he was able to further reinforce the critical role contracting professionals play in supporting USAFE operations in United States European Command and United States Africa Command,” said Wegner. “Assembling such a large group of contracting professionals across five different organizations doesn't happen often and I’m appreciative of the opportunity to receive senior leader insight and kudos.”

Leadership representing the final three of five total organizations in attendance included U.S. Air Force Maj. Alfred Fryman, 764th Contracting Squadron commander, U.S. Air Force Maj. William Barrett, 52nd Contracting Squadron commander, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Philip Olson, USAFE-AFAFRICA/A4K deputy.

The command is supported by over 350 contracting professionals, located throughout Europe and Africa, and is comprised of officers, enlisted, U.S. government civil service members, and Local National employees.

After fiscal year 2018 concluded on Sep. 30, Burton remarked how well contracting professionals performed during the end of year “crunch time.”

“I’m proud of the way USAFE-AFAFRICA contracting professionals performed during fiscal year 2018,” said Burton. “Strong relationships with our comptrollers, resource advisors, and mission partners resulted in a successful year where we fulfilled customer requirements, saved the U.S. Air Force dollars and made our acquisition processes more efficient.”

Wegner shared similar sentiments with Burton by highlighting why the fiscal year was particularly difficult and underlining how contracting professionals were able to, as Harrigian noted, “deliver on time in support of the mission.”

“The mission-focused business leaders (contracting professionals) within USAFE-AFAFRICA are all-in with a get-it-done attitude,” said Wegner. “fiscal year 2018 was especially challenging, due to the numerous continuing resolutions and fluid distribution of project funding. Our U.S. Air Force contracting professionals work tirelessly to support the success of our mission partners, while also balancing their fiduciary and legal responsibilities for expenditure of taxpayer funds. I could not be more proud of their attitude, their laser focus on mission accomplishment, and their steadfast professionalism in executing the acquisition mission with integrity.”

Contracting professionals are integral to the U.S. Air Force’s mission because it enables the ability to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace. Many times, missions cannot be accomplished with the U.S. Air Force’s organic resources and contracts must be established to augment and enhance capabilities.

On a local level, contracting professionals establish contracts for supplies, equipment, services and construction to enable professional airlift for the 86th Airlift Wing and fulfill mission requirements for a host of other mission partners.

While fiscal year 2018 has ended, fiscal year 2019 has just begun and with that a new set of challenges present themselves.

Wegner shares his recommendations to ease the closeout stress for fiscal year 2019 for both customers and contracting professionals.

“My one bit of advice for our customers in easing the closeout stress is early planning and communication with your contracting office,” said Wegner. “Early planning for mission requirements and becoming educated on the acquisition process will allow for timely contract awards and reduce the anxiety we experience in September.”