As the Air Force continues to build a lethal and ready force, the 56th Contracting Squadron tested its deployed capability by conducting a three-day exercise in a simulated austere environment at Luke Air Force Base.
Staff Sgt. Terrel Cloud, 56th CONS contracting specialist, explained that in previous years the unit’s Contingency Contracting Officer exercise was “table top” training, where participants would talk through scenarios at their office.
This year, he said CONS held the June 8 to 10 exercise in tents while maximizing the use of limited available resources that is typical of austere environments rather than the comfort of brick and mortar buildings in the United States.
“The 56th CONS wanted to get very in-depth with the training. It’s important that we conduct this exercise because we want (airmen) to be ready when they (go downrange),” said Cloud.
According to Staff Sgt. Michael Brockett, 56th CONS contracting specialist, the CCO exercise was a dress rehearsal for deployments, where conditions can be more challenging and diverse than those that contractors may run into stateside.
“We deploy all over the world and business can be done in many different ways depending on where we are,” said Brockett. “Being able to adapt to the different ways a culture does business is important.”
In a deployed location, CONS airmen work with host nation businesses to enable U.S. combat support capabilities and negotiate contracts with qualified vendors as well as evaluate their performances to ensure resources are used in the best way possible.
Cloud said the field exercise offers airmen the opportunity to test their knowledge and hone skills while achieving the CONS mission. He emphasized that this type of training gives them the confidence to professionally conduct business anywhere in the world.
“In the end, the exercise gave airmen an idea of what the deployed environment will be like,” said Cloud. “It also helped the squadron, as a whole, evaluate the CONS training program and gave leaders a better idea of what we needed to focus on in the future.”
Editor’s note: Senior Airman Phyllis Jimenez is with the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at Luke Air Force Base.