The National Academy of Public Administration, at the request of the U.S. Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), studied Joint Base Operations and Support Contract (J-BOSC) performance at the Kennedy Space Center and 45th Space Wing. Following a difficult start four years ago, the J-BOSC has since performed in a successful manner. This joint endeavor between the Air Force and NASA has been a positive learning experience for all involved, with even more meaningful outcomes expected.
The project team could not identify benefits to be gained from recompeting the current J-BOSC. First, contract technical performance and customer satisfaction ratings are excellent. Second, traditional methods of reducing contract costs are not available since Service Contract Act provisions and collective bargaining agreements control labor wages and fringe benefits; contract rates are normal for base support work. Further, consolidated functions have reduced personnel and attendant costs. Potential areas for cost savings relate to employee reductions. Thus, with strong cost incentives, the government can likely achieve savings without incurring recompetition expense.
The J-BOSC concept has been successful for the KSC and 45 SW, whose base support functions are largely similar and geographically contiguous. However, the concept is not directly transferable to other locations without considerable study since success is predicated on local conditions. In addition, extending the J-BOSC beyond base support functions is not recommended. An excellent base support contract, it is a risk that would require considerable study to include for other types of work. The current contractor team directs its skills toward managing base support functions. Limited experience in managing launch and related activities could lead to unacceptable performance for these different types of contract work.
The KSC/45 SW partnership has significant potential for future operational understanding and better business decisions. It has led both organizations to better understand the other’s mission and base support functions. With this increased organizational knowledge, the project team expects that the partnership will be well positioned for the future.
The Air Force should address CCSMO staffing to correct the perception that the office is NASA dominated. To ensure continued high morale and the belief that CCSMO is an integral part of the 45 SW management team, corrective action should be taken.