JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md.-- --
Air Force District of Washington’s contracting directorate hosted Industry Week at the Gen. Jacob E. Smart Conference Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 9-12, 2023, to give businesses an idea of what the AFDW mission is and where additional skillsets are needed.
Major General Joel Jackson, AFDW commander, welcomed the participants and kicked off the event.
“This is important and I’m proud to host. Our goal is to be transparent with the mission here in the National Capital Region,” Jackson said. “If we can partner to develop effective and enduring solutions instead of scrambling to fix short-term needs, that’s better for everyone. This is where we demystify things – better partnerships, communication, and decisions, all leading to better solutions.”
AFDW’s contracting team has a unique mission here in the NCR, in addition to AFDW requirements; it provides Headquarters Air Force, Secretary of the Air Force, and Space Force support in the form of personnel, services, and technology.
“Our partners have larger strategic objectives that affect the entire force,” said Col. David Villarreal, contracting director, AFDW. “Contracting is the number one force enabler in the Air Force, in my opinion. When we look at are we going to do something organically or are we going to do something with contract support, our role is how do we enable that capability.”
Much of the time, that support is provided by way of professional services - contractors who augment the force and provide skillsets the military does not have among the ranks.
“What that means is we’re hiring companies to go out and provide professional services to the staff in some capacity,” Villarreal said. “It could be an auditor, financial manager, or system analyst capability. It’s those kinds of individuals who will provide a capability that is not assigned to the mission organically.”
The event included mission briefs from AFDW units and partners and dedicated a day to explaining Space Force requirements. Seminars and breakout sessions were also offered to help small businesses understand how the government contract process works.
“It’s making those connections with the industry in order to show them and connect them with the mission owner so they can come up with a solution, that allows us to meet our needs and enable the mission moving forward,” Villarreal said.
The annual weeklong event hosted 350 people in person and virtually. Villareal hopes one day the Industry Week event will become even more collaborative and include partners from across the NCR.
“Our goal is to be the premier contracting organization in the National Capital Region and field capability at the speed of relevance,” Villarreal said.