Paying the bills: 6 CONS deployment exercise Published Nov. 12, 2019 By Airman 1st Class Ryan C. Grossklag 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Mission support comes in all shapes and sizes, from all offices and units. Efficient processes come with a price and contracting Airmen happily pay those bills and sometimes do so in extraordinary conditions. Members of the 6th Contracting Squadron conducted a deployment simulation exercise, Nov. 5-7 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to hone their operational readiness. The training’s purpose was to familiarize contractors with the procedures needed to support a forward operating base. With many exercises focusing on overseas contingencies, this training familiarized contractors with operating in austere conditions. “We took our people out of the office and away from distractions,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tyler Winters, the 6th CONS readiness noncommissioned officer in charge. “They setup a work center from the contracting deployment kits that would be used in a real deployment. Scenarios with fast-paced deadlines tested the CONS members’ skills and abilities to keep a cool, calm and collected manner.” Through exercises like this contractors are able to apply their everyday business operations in a deployed environment with a vital focus on acquiring resources, said Winters “CONS is a force multiplier; we are able to elevate the effectiveness of other squadrons’ missions by providing them with the tools and resources needed to efficiently support the Air Force,” said Winters. “Combatant Commands see the use of money as a weapon system. CONS’ ability to rapidly and legally spend funds directly impacts the effect money has as a weapon system.” Exercise planners coordinated scenarios to test the contract specialists on their capability to complete the commander’s mission priorities, while taking requests for resources by customers. “The scenarios in this exercise range from conducting an inventory of our deployment kits, which house everything we need to support an [Advanced Operational Node] team tasked with setting up a forward operating base, to properly informing the commander of capabilities,” said Tech. Sgt. Forrest Browne, the 6th CONS base support flight NCO in charge. “Customers test contractors on obtaining basic life support items such as water, food and waste disposal.” Contractors may be the unseen middle-man in many operations, but they remain ready to carry out their mission at home or away.