/ Published September 07, 2021
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shamar Miller and Airman 1st Class Priscilla Negron Rodriguez, 18th Contracting Squadron contracting specialists, cooperate on a contract package at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 2, 2021.
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Priscilla Negron Rodriguez, 18th Contracting Squadron contract specialist, approaches her cubicle to assess a contract package at Kadena Air Base, Sept. 2, 2021. Packages can be used for any assets a squadron may need from medical supplies to gym equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jonathan Woods, 18th Contracting Squadron contract specialist, passes by the squadron emblem at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 2, 2021. The squadron acts as an executive agent responsible for supporting all military family housing across Okinawa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shamar Miller, 18th Contracting Squadron contract specialist, strives to obtain a contracting officer warrant at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 2, 2021. Contracting officers are allowed to negotiate on behalf of the government and can execute, modify, or terminate a contract. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jared Roderick, 18th Contracting Squadron contract specialist, analyzes documents at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 2, 2021. The 18th CONS provides support to the 18th Wing and its tenant units and sister services across Okinawa through the administration of nearly $300 million in supplies, services and construction contracts annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)
The 18th CONS personnel enables organizations to use their funding to support missions through contracts or packages. Packages can be used for anything an organization requires such as medical equipment or a walkway.
“We know it’s hard to do our job without up-to-date facilities or equipment,” said Senior Airman Roberto Rongavilla II, 18th CONS contracting officer. “A simple walkway could be the difference between security forces responding to a call on-time or not. Contracting makes sure those needs are met.”
Contracts also serve to acquire goods and services, one example of this is lawn maintenance.
According to Rongavilla II, cut grass isn’t just aesthetic. Pests like the venomous Okinawa Habu are mitigated when they can’t hide in grassy areas.
The team receives hundreds of packages annually for requests, and to help empower customers to make purchases without assistance, the government purchase card program was introduced.
According to 1st Lt. Lucas Villanueva, 18th CONS officer in charge of the infrastructure acquisition flight, the GPC program allows squadrons to make purchases up to $10,000 without the need for 18th CONS.
“GPC transactions are meant for small purchases such as furniture or a new gadget,” Villanueva said. “The amount of GPC swipes we get in a year are in the thousands. Those swipes together with contracts total in the millions monetarily, which our squadron then pushes out.”
The personnel are far from robotic despite dealing with numbers and paperwork for a living. If there’s a job that needs to be done, 18th CONS serves to make sure Team Kadena, it’s family members and all of Okinawa are taken care of to the best of their abilities.
“There’s a lot of heart that goes into the contracts we put out,” Rongavilla II said. “We consider all parties in the process including the government, the customer and also our local business owners to make everything fair.”