Get the things you need

  • Published
  • By David S. Diercks
  • 934th Airlift Wing contracting officer
Nobody knows what you need to accomplish the mission better than you do. All too often, however, when contracting needs a customer to define their requirement, the response is, "Isn't that your job?"

As odd as that may sound, it's true. How I usually help educate folks is by using the experience of buying a car. When someone enters a dealership and the salesman asks "What can I help you find?" their response typically is not "Isn't that your job?" We usually have a general idea of what we're looking for (i.e. car or truck, 2-door or 4-door, automatic or manual, etc.) and how much we're willing to spend; otherwise that salesman will take us for a ride (pun intended).

The same holds true for mission requirements. If we're uncertain of what we need to accomplish the mission, the contractor will take us for a ride, and that typically means paying a premium for products or services that are not well-defined. As business advisors, contracting is here to help define that requirement, but it is the user's responsibility to understand what the end state goal is, and then work backwards from there to relay to the contractor what needs to be accomplished.

The important key to remember in any good relationship is communication. The earlier you involve contracting in the acquisition process, the better your chances will be of getting what you need in a timely fashion. If you let contracting know the WHAT and WHY of the acquisition, we'll help figure out the WHO and HOW to get it done.

The contracting office will host two customer training opportunities January 8 and 29 from 9-10:30 a.m. in the Security Forces Auditorium. If you cannot attend one of these sessions, be sure to check out "Contracting for the Rest of Us" at