Operation Open Horizon: 6th CONS & CPTS maintain readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Caleb Nunez
  • 6th Air Mobiltiy Wing Public Affairs

Whether at home, deployed or in an emergency operation, the ability to acquire equipment and care for service members is directly related to mission success.

To ensure MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, can perform these capabilities wherever needed, the 6th Contracting Squadron partnered with the 6th Comptroller Squadron to develop the first-ever Operation Open Horizon training exercise, April 15-19, 2019.

The exercise exposed Airmen to the unique duty requirements of providing contracting and pay agent support in a deployed environment.

“The reason contracting is in the military is to deploy and support contingencies, and this exercise puts that into perspective,” said Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Malyemezian, the 6th CONS superintendent. “We are doing what we do every day, but faster, with a higher threshold.”

The exercise began with a simulated deployment to stand up a forward operating base deterring a fictional aggressor, where the Airmen were tasked with identifying contracts, blanket purchase agreements, support and defense agreements, among other mission requirements. While Airmen from the 6th CONS provided contracting support, Airmen from the 6th CPTS contributed their expertise on government funds and managing the budget of contracting terms.

“We function as a force multiplier for the commander on the ground,” Malyemezian said. “Our job ranges from buying basic life support supplies to military construction.”

While deployed, contracting specialists function as contracting officers, giving them the authority to approve contracts. According to Staff Sgt. Blake Martin, a 6th CONS contracting specialist, the exercise was effective in providing the experience necessary to deploy and become that approval authority.

In addition to training on necessary job-specific skills, the Airmen accomplished other annual warfighter requirements.

“Another piece of this exercise is the Airmen getting their annual requirement of self-aid buddy care, CBRN and expeditionary active shooter training,” added Malyemezian. “This gives time back to the squadrons since the Airmen won’t have to go out and do this training for the next year.”

Exercises like these keep the Air Force moving forward as a lethal and ready force.

“This exercise lines up with the wing’s priority of readiness and our career expectations of building an expeditionary joint capable force,” Malyemezian said. “It was a success because the Airmen came out smarter and more capable than they came in.”