KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
From base landscaping to office computers, nearly everything found on Kadena flows through the 18th Contracting Squadron. In 2022 alone, the 18th CONS executed 392 contracting actions valued at over 170 million dollars, earning the unit Best Contracting Squadron in Pacific Air Forces.
The 18th CONS provides agile acquisition support and contract execution to the base’s mission partners, enabling the 18th Wing to continuously project decisive airpower to ensure regional stability and security. Acting as force multipliers, contracting specialists increase the effect of the force.
“Contracting enables you to source a supply that you otherwise wouldn’t have,” explained Senior Airman Jared Roderick, 18th CONS contract specialist. “You can rely on the local economy as a secondary source. Without that we would have to rely on only what we brought with us here to Japan.”
Acting as the middleman between the government and vendors, contracting officers plan and execute contracts to optimize taxpayers dollars.
“During the initial phase of planning, the customer brings forth their purchase request and we work together to build a package,” Roderick said. “Once we have the package together, we solicit potential vendors and they come back to us with offers. After we choose a vendor, we write the contract. Then after the contract is awarded, we go ahead and administer the contract thereafter to make sure all parties are abiding by it.”
Throughout the 2022 fiscal year, the 18th CONS executed contracts that not only impact Kadena, but also have the potential to impact the Air Force as a whole. Some of the major contracts executed were the Kadena tech refresh, the Kadena dorm restoration project, the Multiple Award Construction contract and the Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineer contract, Project Venom and Project Kinetic Cargo.
2nd Lt. Mary Davison, 18th CONS officer in-charge of the commodities and services flight, expressed how rewarding working with the Kadena Innovation Lab was to execute the Project Venom and Project Kinetic Cargo contracts, and seeing them come to fruition.
“Project Venom is a fuel converter and we’re already starting to use it here on Kadena, so hopefully if it does well it can be used across the Air Force,” Davison said. “Project Kinetic Cargo is a laser that scans and weighs cargo and ultimately can reduce the amount of injuries across the service.”
Both Roderick and Davison stress the importance of working as a team in order to execute the contracting mission correctly and efficiently, and ultimately attribute teamwork for bringing home the Best CONS in PACAF award.
“Contracting is very much a team effort because no one knows everything, so you’re constantly learning from each other; there’s always going to be people doing peer reviews or giving advice. For more complicated issues, we even reach out to our commander and get mentored by her,” said Davison. “I was very happy to see all the people here get recognized for the hard work they do every day."