Air Force considers outsourcing Elmendorf supply squadron

Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2001

ANCHORAGE -- Elmendorf Air Force Base could lose 175 personnel and 33 civilian jobs if plans proceed to replace its supply squadron with a private contractor from Texas.

The Air Force announced Friday tentative plans to award a five-year, $15.5 million contract to Phoenix Management Inc. of Austin, Texas to replace the 3rd Supply Squadron.

No timeline for contract award ready to be announced, said Capt. Angela Billings of the 3rd Wing public affairs office.

Outsourcing the supply squadron would save the Air Force more than $30 million over five years, according to a cost study.

The supply squadron provides everything from ''pencils to engine parts,'' said Senior Airman Nate Hier, who also works in the public affairs office.

The baseline cost of performing the supply work with existing in-house workers is projected at more than $45.8 million.

The decision to outsource the work affects 208 Department of Defense personnel: seven officers, 168 enlisted airmen and 33 civilians. Hier said Air Force personnel could be transferred or retrained for other duties. The Air Force will make every effort to find suitable employment for the other employees, according to Elmendorf spokesmen.

The cost comparison was conducted as the result of an Air Force headquarters initiative and the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76. The circular requires public-private competition for some work and requires that work be awarded to the lowest bidder.

The process also allows for appeals of tentative contract awards, which is one reason for the delay in awarding the contract.

In its attempts to modernize, the Air Force is trying to focus on its core wartime activities, according to Elmendorf personnel

''They're always looking for ways where they can stretch the dollar,'' Hier said.

Billings said the decision to allow competition for the work of the 3rd Supply Squadron was announced last April. Under the process, contractors bid and are evaluated. The top contractor then competes with the best in-house bid.

If the contract is awarded to Phoenix Management, the contractor likely would operate out of the same facilities on Elmendorf as the 3rd Supply Squadron, Hier said.

Calls to Phoenix Management after business hours in Texas late Friday were not answered.

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