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$2B Air Force savings goal surpassed with help from 374 CONS

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The 374th Contracting Squadron poses for a photo at Yokota Air Base, Japan, July 23, 2020. This team recently helped propel the Air Force Installation Contracting Center past their $2B savings goal six months ahead of schedule. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --

Talents across the Air Force have meticulously focused resources on reducing military spending and contracting squadrons globally have now surpassed a $2B goal—six months ahead of schedule.

The Yokota 374th Contracting Squadron, credits their hand in this united success to their change-agent attitude, supportive mission partners and a dedication to ending the reign of the status quo.

“Our willingness to reject the way it’s always been done is how we drive down rates,” said Senior Master Sgt. Clarence Silver, 374th CONS Superintendent. “Every dollar we save is another dollar to enhance mission capability.”

In recent years, the specialty has shifted their posture from being passive business advisors to actively leading the charge to shape government spending. This meant instilling a change-agent attitude by enhancing critical thinking and decision-making processes.

“We are innovatively using marketing research to observe existing trend history and we are creating competition where there previously was none,” Silver said. “Leaders here are challenging monopolies by soliciting contracts out to multiple vendors and reducing prices significantly by introducing that competition.”

Soliciting vendors has historically been a challenge in overseas locations specifically because of the language barrier and the lack of knowledge when it comes to conducting business with the U.S. government.

To combat this and provide more competition for contractors, the 374th CONS has created ‘Industry Days’ where specialists spend time educating local vendors on contracting processes. This not only drives down costs by creating fair competitions, but also bolsters the Japanese economy and strengthens the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.

“A lot of people want to do business with us, but simply don’t know how,” said Joshua Grubb, 374th CONS specialized contracting director. “Keeping a continuity of contractors is easier and quicker because they already know how it works, but that eliminates any possible savings from competition.

“There’s an inherent risk when searching for negotiated savings, because the education of possible contractors and the research for money-saving solutions takes time.”

Transportation contracting section chief, Maki Kodama, recently invested that time and analyzed the contract for Yokota’s railway tank cars.

Harnessing all of the aircraft fuel for Yokota, the railway tank cars were historically leased through a company with a repeating five-year contract—an arrangement that had never been re-negotiated until Kodama.

“The railway tank car project put us over the $2B enterprise goal six months ahead of schedule,” said Grubb. “We capitalized on the depreciation of the asset and extended the contract. It saved over $2.5M for the government.”

This year, Yokota has already reached $32M in cost savings. With $18M of that saved in the last month alone.

These massive savings on 374th CONS projects have intercontinental impacts and also take a substantial amount of support to accomplish. The unit, which is comprised of 65 percent Japanese nationals, credits diversity and teamwork to their success.

“We know we don’t do this alone,” said Silver. “It takes a team to develop innovative solutions. Together, we save mission dollars and turn them into warfighter capability.”