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Tyndall PMO awards $15 million in AFWERX Base of the Future contracts 

  • Published
  • By Steve Warns
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Tyndall Program Management Office recently awarded approximately $15 million in contracts as part of AFWERX's Base of the Future initiative. 
 
The awards are a culmination of a process started in April 2019 to help rebuild Tyndall after it was devastated by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. 

Six different innovative contract actions were awarded, including an Other Transaction Agreement awarded to develop a “digital twin” of Tyndall AFB. 

Other Transaction Agreements are legally binding instruments that can be used to engage industry, including non-traditional contractors, and academia for a broad range of research and prototyping activities.

Challenge definition workshops were held in January and February and focused on six topic areas: base security, installation resilience, leveraging technology for operational effectiveness, enabling technologies for reverse engineering and additive and agile manufacturing, culture of innovation, and empowering Airmen and family well-being.

"We received 1,692 submissions across six challenges," said Lowell Usrey, Tyndall PMO Integration Division chief. “Approximately 100 judges from the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense evaluated the submissions based on pre-defined criteria to select 92 finalists."

The AFWERX Fusion Showcase 2020 event was held virtually July 28-30 to explore innovative solutions for building an installation of the future with industry experts. From the 1,692 submissions, 374 were selected to present during the AFWERX digital showcase event, and 92 finalists ultimately moved on to the demonstration phase.

AFWERX recently held a virtual contract evaluation event for Air Force and Space Force professionals to review demonstrations from the finalists and also for rapid contracting opportunities through a pre-established Commercial Solutions Opening acquisition method. 

The CSO was developed by AFWERX to allow stakeholders within the Department of Defense to reach the 92 finalists. The PMO and the 325th Fighter Wing are pursuing six of the companies and their technologies for implementation and prototyping at Tyndall. 

With the end of the fiscal year approaching Wednesday, the urgency to award the contracts with fiscal year 2020 funds was immense, Usrey said.

Despite the intense pressure, the PMO integration team comprised of Usrey, project manager 2nd Lt. Derrick Jochmans, acquisition program manager Crystal Whisby, division deputy chief Maj. Brandon Rocker and contracting officer Elizabeth Midkiff fulfilled the mission.

“This has been one of the more interesting and rewarding end-of-year contracting sprints in my time as a contracting officer," Midkiff said. “Our team was able to award several commercial solutions contracts and two OTAs within just a couple of months.”

That flexibility and agility also enabled the 325th Security Forces Squadron to obtain a $1.9 million requirement for a mobile vehicle and cargo inspection system needed for the Tyndall rebuild, which was “pretty cool,” Usrey added.

“AFWERX has been instrumental in helping Tyndall find innovative technologies and more importantly find ways to reach these small and non-traditional contractors," Usrey said. “If we hadn’t developed this partnership with AFWERX, we wouldn’t be as far along as we are now." 

That partnership with AFWERX also set the stage for Tyndall and the Air Force enterprise to continue marching toward installations of the future, Rocker said. 

"A lot of what we're looking for is what's adaptable to each installation," Rocker said. "It's not base specific. The hope is that these technologies will have impact to the broader enterprise."