By Capt. David Murphy, 81st Training Wing Public Affairs, KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. –Beginning today, a new Base Operating Support contract will take affect here that will bring Keesler in line with the Air Force vision for support contracts and reallocate funds towards more core, mission-essential areas.
The new contract, awarded to Vectrus, a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based company, is part of a Headquarters Air Force initiative responding to manpower and budget changes throughout the Defense Department and the Air Force.
“We look forward to working with Vectrus to get us through this transition period as smoothly as possible,” said Mo Malone, 81st Infrastructure Support Division director. “This new contract is part of an effort to standardize civil engineering services across the Air Force.”
The new contract will reallocate approximately $16 million a year from base services towards other more core mission-centric goals throughout the Air Force, but will not affect the primary mission of the 81st Training Wing to train the world’s best Airmen. The contract will result in changes to grounds maintenance, project execution and work order prioritization.
Under the new contract, base grounds services will include less edging and trimming and some areas won’t receive the same attention as before.
All three main gates, Larcher Blvd., Meadows Dr. and Chappie James Ave., all three main headquarters buildings, the parade field, the Keesler Medical Center and the Bay Breeze Event Center will not be affected by the contract change.
“While we modified grounds keeping on certain areas of the base, rest assured we will still mow all areas both on and off base that we currently cover on a regular basis,” said Malone.
Other areas not affected by the contract change include the base gyms and the Vandenberg Commons, both of which will continue to maintain their operating hours. Furthermore, there will not be an impact to services provided by the 81st Force Support Squadron, such as the McBride Commons.
“If you’re going through any of the three main gates, going along any of the three main roads or going to any of the three main headquarters buildings, you probably won’t even notice a difference,” said Malone.
Additionally, there is no requirement for Keesler Airmen to fill the new contract gaps.
“Airman are not going to be expected to routinely perform these types of maintenance efforts,” said Malone. “There may be special occasions where the squadron commander asks them to pull some weeds or trim some hedges, but it’s not going to be routinely done.”
Under the new contract all projects will be scored and placed on the Integrated Priority List so the Air Force can make final approval decisions on any projects based on the score and funds available. Scores will be based on facility importance, relation to mission, facility age and any safety, health or fire hazards present in the building.
Under the new contract, large facility maintenance repair projects will have to be identified earlier in the fiscal year due to the fact that the service provider no longer has the authority to award maintenance projects up to $500,000.
In the past, when an organization rearranged offices, added equipment or got a new commander, the facility manager would turn in an Air Force Form 332, “Base Civil Engineer Work Request.” This form would cover work such as offices that needed repainting, to have walls moved, or additional electric plugs installed. In many cases these would be considered routine work orders.
“Routine work orders may take longer to get accomplished,” said Donald Kinsman, 81st Contracting Squadron administrative contracting officer for the BOS contract. “The emphasis will be on emergency requests and preventive maintenance, not routine requests. Some (requests) will only be accomplished if additional funding is available.”
Under the new contract the priorities are as follows:
Priority 1 is specifically for emergency maintenance work which is considered work needed to continue mission operations.
Priority 2A is for preventive maintenance.
Priority 2B is contingency construction training.
Priority 3A is scheduled sustainment work for high mission or equipment sustainment risk.
Priority 3B is scheduled sustainment work for moderate mission or equipment sustainment risk.
Priority 3C is scheduled sustainment work.
Priority 4A is scheduled enhancement work.
Priority 4B is all other enhancement work.
To expedite routine requests, members can still submit an AF Form 332 self-help request.
More information about how the Air Force handles its facilities and infrastructure can be found in Air Force Instruction 32-1001, “Operations Management.”
“The contract change will not affect the primary mission of the 81st TRW in training the world’s best Airmen or the 403rd Wing’s Hurricane Hunters in supporting the weather mission,” said Col. Danny Davis, 81st Mission Support Group commander. “Team Keesler will continue to provide outstanding support to our customers and Gulf Coast community partners.”