The mission and the community: Contracted for excellence Published March 18, 2021 By Senior Airman Kimberly L. Mueller 81st Training Wing Public Affairs KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- One way the partnership between Keesler and the community is strengthened is through local contracts created to support Keesler’s mission and the local community. The 81st Contracting Squadron writes contracts with vendors for various necessities such as commodities, services and construction. “Before a contract is decided, the question is asked if the requirement can be done in-house,” said Jan-Pierre Malboeuf, 81st CONS business operations director. “If the 81st CONS receives a requirement, it means the squadron or organization does not have the means to provide support within the unit.” Keesler currently holds 94 contracts with the local community between 28 vendors for food service, packing and crating, chapel, public affairs and construction support. “Contractors usually recruit local people to perform work within the local area,” said Malboeuf. “Over time, contracted members become familiar faces and important contacts to our Keesler family. These members give us the ability to meet our mission, feed and house our students and train our warriors.” Keesler’s partnership with the community has shown benefits to both partners. Keesler has received goods and services from the community and created approximately 13,916 jobs and had an economic impact of $879 million, according to the 2019 Economic Impact Statement. “Contracts encourage community involvement and bridge relationships in a very diverse world in which we live,” said Malboeuf. “Civilian contractors understand the local culture and can share that with the military members who come and go, while retired military members provide a unique perspective of mentorship and really help civilians understand the military culture.” Malboeuf said local businesses looking to work with the government must be registered at https://beta.sam.gov/ as a vendor and respond to posted advertisements on the ability to meet product or service requirements at fair price. The more successful vendors are those who specialize in the requirements advertised.