Welcome to the Jungle

The first batch of new-hire employees that the Air Force is bringing on at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to bolster its acquisition workforce there joined the ranks on June 8 and is now undergoing nine weeks of intensive training to emerge as level 1 contracting personnel. These 33 college graduates, nearly all of whom have either masters or law degrees, are part of the 138 new hires that will join contracting organizations on the base by Aug. 31. While some are recent grads, others are coming over from the private sector. The new hires are part of a recently announced Air Force-wide effort to increase the size of its in-house acquisition expertise. Last month, for example, the Air Force leadership issued a five-pronged plan to bolster the service’s acquisition after years of atrophy. Included in the initiatives are immediate plans to increase the workforce by 258 military and 1,804 civilian positions. USAF moves are part of a broader Pentagon-wide effort to expand the defense acquisition workforce by about 20,000 positions over the next five years. This includes converting about 11,000 contractors to full-time government employees and hiring 9,000 more government acquisition professionals. (Wright-Patterson report by Derek Kaufman)