Air Force Launches New Strategic Sourcing Office
In October, the U.S. Air Force has established a new division – the Enterprise Sourcing Group – in an effort to leverage the total purchasing power of its 70 U.S.-based installations and has announced a goal of saving up to $2.3 billion using a strengthened strategic sourcing strategy over the next five years. According to Air Force officials, this will be accomplished through both streamlining their acquisition processes and obtaining better prices from suppliers. Mario J. Troncoso will serve as the new unit's director.
Strategic sourcing initiatives have evolved significantly since 2007, when the Air Force announced plans to open five regional strategic sourcing contracting centers. However, the major U.S. economic downturn starting in 2008 and a variety of base-specific constraints made the idea less attractive to implement as originally planned. More recently, the Air Force adjusted its approach and established a centrally located strategic sourcing unit at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Ohio.
Looking ahead, the Air Force’s new Enterprise Sourcing Group will include approximately 400 contracting officials and include a small business office, a business support group and three enterprise sourcing squadrons. A total of six commodity councils will manage the acquisition process. The group's Information Technology Council has begun awarding centralized procurements for desktop computers, while its Force Protection Council has issued contracts for gear and equipment for security personnel. New strategic sourcing contract agreements reportedly are now underway for office furniture, office supplies and medical services.
The Air Force also said it is setting up satellite offices in Alabama, Florida, Nebraska and Texas. Strategic sourcing is part of a larger Defense Department effort to reduce overhead spending and redirect $100 billion to military operations.
Domestic Air Force bases now spend approximately $10 billion annually on contracts for commodities and services. The Enterprise Sourcing Group expects to manage roughly half that total within the next five years and to save up to 15% of what the Air Force now spends for commodities and services by standardizing requirements, better analyzing past purchases and eliminating redundant acquisition processes.
In addition to contracting at bases, the Enterprise Sourcing Group will award procurements for the Air Force Center for Engineering and Environment, the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency and the Defense Technical Information Center. The group also will support Air Force medical contracting.