Provisional comptroller, contracting squadron stand up

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78 Air Base Wing Public Affairs
As Lt. Col. Christopher Rogers listened to President-elect Barack Obama's acceptance speech on election night, he couldn't help but think of his own challenge ahead as commander of a new squadron at Robins. 

Colonel Rogers decided to borrow Mr. Obama's themes of "hope and change" for the newly activated 78th Comptroller & Contracting Squadron. On a provisional basis, the new unit combines 78th Contracting Squadron with the 78th Comptroller Squadron.

"It doesn't matter who you voted for," Colonel Rogers said at a standup ceremony Nov. 13, "because we are going to need a little hope and we are going to need to change. All of us in the 78th Comptroller & Contracting Squadron will need to get out of our comfort zones and try things and not be afraid of change."

Col. Warren Berry, 78th Air Base Wing commander, said the move toward merging the two offices began several months ago with a call from Air Force Materiel Command headquarters. The Air Force wanted to try consolidating comptroller and contracting squadrons at a handful of bases as a test, with an eye toward combining the offices at every base if the experiment works.

Robins agreed to become one of only five bases throughout the Air Force to merge the two offices on a trial basis. Robins is the only AFMC base involved in the trial.

"We had the opportunity to shape the future or we could let that opportunity go by and let the future shape us," Colonel Berry said at the activation ceremony held at the Museum of Aviation. "As far as we are concerned we would rather break ground than be the ones toiling behind trying to catch up. This is truly a unique opportunity for you to chart the course not just for Robins, not just for the Materiel Command but for the entire Air Force."
Colonel Rogers had formerly been commander of the 78th Contracting Squadron. In an interview following the activation ceremony, he said the new squadron will be in effect on a trial basis until the summer of 2010. At that point, he said, the Air Force will determine how the merger is working and whether it should be kept and implemented throughout the Air Force.

There will be no changes in the numbers of personnel as a result of the merger, Colonel Rogers said. The contracting squadron had approximately 80 people while the comptroller squadron had approximately 100. He also said Robins is the only base involved in the trial in which the comptroller and contracting offices are located in separate buildings. That likely won't change unless the Air Force decides to make the merger permanent.

But Colonel Rogers said being in separate buildings will require more communication as the two offices learn to work as one. The aim of the merger, he said, is to determine how the two services overlap and make the processes for both more efficient.

"There are some efficiencies we think we can gain," he said. "Certainly an objective for us is to provide the wing leadership a one-stop shop."