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28th CONS trains for future deployments

Contracting Airmen work on contracts

Airman assigned to the 28th Contracting Squadron conduct operations during a weeklong exercise at Camp Lancer at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 13, 2020. The exercise was a culmination of an 8-week build-up where two teams of 28th CONS Airmen conducted research of the local area, commercial business environment, and area of responsibility (AOR)-specific contracting authorities, and established new Regional Contracting Offices in Japan to combat a new threat in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quentin K. Marx)

Shacks used by Contracting Airmen

The 28th Contracting Squadron operates from shacks during a weeklong exercise at Camp Lancer at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 13, 2020. The buildings are meant to simulate what Airmen from the squadron could experience in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quentin K. Marx)

Staff Sgt. works on contract

Staff Sgt. Dustin White, a 28th Contracting Squadron contract supervisor, works on a contract during a weeklong exercise at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 13, 2020. The exercise simulated what contracting personnel may experience while deployed, and involved a white cell which created scenarios that contractors within the blue cell had to react to and execute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quentin K. Marx)

Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. --

After eight weeks of preparation, the 28th Contracting Squadron conducted an exercise where they simulated being deployed to Japan May 11 to 15 at Camp Lancer on Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The 8-week build-up had two teams of 28th CONS Airmen conducting research of the local area, commercial business environment, area of responsibility (AOR)-specific contracting authorities, and establishing new Regional Contracting Offices in Japan to combat a new threat in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region.

Once the preparation was complete, the 28th CONS Airmen operated out of Camp Lancer on Ellsworth, a training site meant to simulate a deployed environment, where personnel acted as contingency contracting officers, which are contract specialists warranted to obligate funds on behalf of the government in declared contingencies.

“The simulation had two main cells doing work, the blue and white cells,” said Airman 1st Class Spencer Delange, a 28th CONS contracting officer.
Members in the white cell create requirements for contracts, and personnel in the blue cell abide by the requirements and react to the white cell’s scenarios.

“The white cell will roleplay as several different kinds of people to simulate different situations that our Airmen would have to go through in a deployed environment,” said Airman 1st Class Adam Szinger, a 28th CONS contracting specialist. “The white cell can act as an angry commander trying to file a contract, to then being a local contractor trying to work on base.”

On the other hand, the blue cell responds to scenarios created by the white cell.

“[Contracting] will find any businesses in the local area and try to make a contract with whoever is on the phone with them to accomplish any mission or operation that the customer might need in the deployed environment,” said Delange. “One situation the white cell threw at us was an unauthorized commitment where someone spent money when they were not allowed to, so we had to ratify the contract.”

Overall, contracting specialists and officers from the squadron executed training scenarios as appropriate, ensuring they are ready to operate in a deployed environment.

“The exercise hit its intended mark and went very well. It was intended to establish a firm foundation for flexible contract support in contingency environments, both stateside and overseas,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Crain, a 28th CONS non-commissioned officer in charge.

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