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Cost Engineering Improvement Program set for Initial Operating Capability

The Air Force is implementing a new program to produce certified cost estimators within its ranks. (AFCEC graphic)

The Air Force is implementing a new program to produce certified cost estimators within its ranks. (AFCEC graphic)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – A new program to certify engineers who determine costs associated with military construction projects will reach initial operating capability this month.

The Cost Estimating Improvement Program is the culmination of five years of work to get Airmen trained in cost estimating coursework, revising policy requirements and building a cost reviewer and approver team. The program will help the Department of the Air Force determine closer cost estimates based on the scope and intent of infrastructure projects.

“CEIP originated in response to Congressional inquiries and Government Accounting Office audits to revise the way cost estimating work is done in the Air Force and reduce the amount of cost overruns that were occurring in high-value projects which triggered Congressional re-approval of project funds,” said Scott Ward, acting engineering division chief of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Operations Directorate. 

Ward drafted the CEIP framework in 2015 and championed implementation strategies. 

”CEIP went before the Air Force Civil Engineer Board and was approved in 2016 to build Air Force Institute of Technology coursework and train our Airmen that do cost work, revise Air Force policy on what tools and processes should be utilized in cost estimating work, and the creation of an Air Force Cost Center, whose mission is to review and certify infrastructure cost estimating work for the purposes of funding,” Ward said.

During the last five years, more than 1,000 CE Airmen have been trained through AFIT and officials are now finalizing the reviewer/approver mission.  

The Air Force recruited and hired senior cost engineers based on breadth and depth of experience in both engineering design and construction, as well as specific experience in cost estimating and cost engineering expertise.

In July, the senior cost engineers visited their assigned action officer representative to introduce the new mission and train Airmen on how to make a successful submittal for certification. These reviewers/approvers will certify all military construction cost estimating work  (in the United Kingdom) and unspecified minor military construction being executed by Air Force, plus all facility, sustainment, restoration and modernization projects that are $5 million or more.

Jaime Pittman is a senior cost engineer whose area of responsibility is Pacific Air Forces. He recently spent three weeks briefing leadership and training Airmen in Hawaii, Sapian, Tinian and Alaska.

“The bases were very receptive, liked the training and are looking forward to the annual publishing of a regional market analysis,” Pittman said. “This document will help programmers at the bases and major command- level with items such as labor and material issues. It will also provide them good evidence for area cost factor adjustments.”