MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Change is inevitable, but sometimes change is for the best, especially when it means the ability to procure anything and everything -- from toilet paper to runway updates to KC-135 Stratotankers -- faster.
The 6th Contracting Squadron is responsible for purchasing nearly everything on the installation including essential products for its joint partners such as U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Joint Communications Support Element. To streamline efforts and ultimately improve the Team MacDill mission, the 6th Contracting Squadron will transition to the Contracting Information Technology (CON-IT) system.
CON-IT allows contracting officers to access and utilize contracts throughout each step of the contract writing process by only using their Department of Defense Common Access Card. On the traditional system, contract procurement processes could be routed through up to 100 different interworking systems. With CON-IT, those systems are narrowed to under 10.
“CON-IT aims to be a flexible, modernized version of the traditional system we’ve been using for more than two decades,” said James Krempasky, the chief of plans and programs flight assigned to the 6th CONS at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. “It’s hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency, however, we do not require Air Fore networks to access the system, so the job can be done anywhere in the world.”
With the traditional system, contract specialists receive a customer’s request, draft the contract and award the contract. The length of the complete process varies from contract to contract and is dependent on the dollar value of the agreement.
“For example, if one of our units on base needed new equipment, we would input the parameters of the purchase and add all regulations that apply,” said Michael Terranova, the quality assurance and policy coordinator assigned to 6th CONS. “CON-IT will streamline some processes, and add failsafe improvements to our normal operations.”
The 6th CONS currently has $1.5 billion in active contracts supporting the 6th Air Mobility Wing and its 33 joint mission partners, driving the need for the updated system to provide unmatched procurement of commodity, service and construction requirements for the unique, multiservice installation. Contracting officers are in the sole career field that has the authority to spend government appropriated funds in accordance with federal regulations.
The new transition is broken into five increments, with the first being a gradual deployment to early adopters. At first, only eight Air Force installations rolled out CON-IT in mid-2018, but due to the system’s success, MacDill was named as an additional early adopter.
“July 12 will be the last day we use the old writing system,” said Terranova. “Then from July 13-18, our team will train on CON-IT while still processing all mission-essential contracts.”
Additionally, CON-IT will add Clause Logic Service, making the contract writing process even more efficient.
“Clause Logic is a tool that automatically adds mandatory federal regulations that are pertinent to each unique contract,” said Krempasky. “Before, we would have to look through the Federal Acquisitions Regulations book and spend 30 minutes reading through the make sure the regulation applies.
“With CON-IT, CLS will be added and it prevents user error, and allows us to expedite the contract.”
Once the program is fully implemented at MacDill, more capabilities will be added and eventually the system is expected be used Air Force-wide. Another benefit is the removal of local electronic server rooms.
“We’re excited to see the change,” said Terranova. “CON-IT’s efficiency and ease of use will make the contract process easier, faster and allow acquisitions to support the warfighter on time, any time while saving taxpayers’ dollars.”