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From tools to tweed, 411th CSB fills contracting need

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Army's 411th Contracting Support Brigade may be one of the smallest units at Osan, but for the rest of the base - to include all of the 51st Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force, Army and ROK air force units - the brigade is essential to mission success.

As Osan's contract and acquisition experts, the 411th CSB supports the purchasing and administration of all supplies, services and construction requirements on base.

"As far as installation support, we pretty much have a hand in everything here," said U.S. Army Maj. Corey Davis, 411th CSB Osan branch chief. "We exercise anywhere between 300 and 400 contracts a year, worth between $20 million and $25 million."

Because of Osan's diverse mission set, the 411th CSB handles a wide spectrum of contracts dealing with weapons, logistics, sustainment and contingency operations for warfighters both on the Korean peninsula and throughout the Pacific Air Forces' area of responsibility.

"In addition to being contracting specialists, all of our Army personnel here are also CCOs, or contingency contracting officers," Davis said. "This means we support exercises all throughout PACAF. For example, our superintendent is going to Bangladesh and I will be supporting an exercise in India later this fiscal year."

Besides multiple temporary duty assignments, the contracting specialists are also mandated to attend numerous training seminars due to their ever-changing requirements. Normally this would strain the operational functionality of a unit, but not the 411th CSB, Davis said.

"Normally this office is manned with about 18 people, but right now we have about 10," Davis said. "But the continuity that our Department of the Army civilians and Korean National counterparts bring is unrivaled. We actually call them our contract "Jedis" because they're quiet and just get the job done. I'll go up and ask them if they know about a certain contract and they'll just hand me the paperwork and tell me it's already done."

Their continuity and experience is also displayed during the unit's fiscal year closeout at the end of every September.

"The closeout is like our end of the year Superbowl-type event," Davis said. "In September alone, we finished 65 contracts, which is typical of how our end of the fiscal year plays out. This was my fourth time going through a closeout as a contracting officer and this was by far the best planned out. This year, we were actually completely done by 3 p.m., Sept. 30. The team here at Osan is fantastic and we couldn't have done it without any one of our people here."

Although fiscal year 2013 has already closed out, the 411th CSB has already begun working on contracts for FY14 and beyond.

"We never stop, we always have to do future planning, and we can't ever stop our communication with our customers," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Gnagie, 411th CSB contracting specialist. "Working on just one contract is pretty time consuming. We'll receive the customer's requirement, identify their wants and needs by conducting market research, start building the solicitation, post the solicitation, evaluate all the quotes or offers, issue the award, and then the contracting administration phase begins. It's a very long process, but every contract we work on must go through it."

Although time consuming, Team Osan members can look in any direction on base, from everyday equipment to expensive construction projects, to see the fruits of the 411th CSB's labor.

"From the solid waste pickup, to the food and civilian personnel at the dining facility and all the construction on base," said Fannie Briggs, 411th CSB administrative contracting officer. "Anywhere you look, we did that."