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Support agreements: Keeping the wing mission-ready

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

"DoD and AF policies direct that support agreements be developed between affected Suppliers and Receivers to document recurring support in order to provide the unit commander with the capability to ensure resources are expended wisely and to help eliminate unnecessary resource duplication.”

If that sounds confusing, don't worry, Tech. Sgt. Patrick Manley, the 446th Airlift Wing Support Agreement Manager and the wing’s 2019 non-commissioned officer of the year winner, can help.

Manley and his expert team manage all of the 446th's support agreements. This encompasses practically everything needed for Reserve Citizen Airmen to function from preparation for deployments and janitorial services to flight line operations, and even the 446th's home on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

JBLM is the only Army-managed installation that has Air Force units, to include the 446th, as tenants. This makes Manley’s job particularly tricky.

Support agreements, memorandums of understanding, and memorandums of agreement are just a few of the many layers it takes for the 446th Airlift Wing to be mission-ready and support global operations. Currently, Manley and the support agreement team have 32 different types of agreements that they manage and constantly review to optimize.

Out of all of those, by far the most complex is with Madigan Army Hospital.

"The bio-environmental agreement with Madigan is the most complex. It is an Army hospital, but is under regulations by the DHA [Defense Health Agency],” said Manley.

Because of those layers, and with the merging of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, the agreement is looking to take a new approach as it reaches its 10-year expiration date. Working for over a year with multiple authorities, departments, and teams, Manley’s team has been re-coordinating the bioenvironmental agreement in a way that works with the way the 446th is structured now and the way it does business now.

Looking at the process for the new agreement, Manley said, "We have to have one (agreement) with the 62nd and one with Madigan. Air Force–to-Air Force is fine; we understand each other. We understand each other's needs. We have the same regulations, the same Air Force Instructions (AFIs). Madigan, though, we do not have the same regulations and AFIs. We not only have to talk about AFIs, but we have to talk about DHA policy, we have to talk about Army regulations, ARs. We also have to talk about Joint Base policy as well."

While there is always potential for changes in manpower, funding and regulations, Manley points out that on top of all that, they also have to consider the future leadership changes when working on agreements.
"We want to create not only a good partnership with Madigan,” he said. “But one that's lasting and that's going to work for the long run and through different commanders seamlessly."

All agreements work to keep the 446th mission going and find innovative ways to keep Reserve Citizen Airmen trained and equipped to deploy. From creating partnerships with local hospitals to support patient transfer exercises, Manley and his team find solutions to continue training.

Manley and his team continue to enhance partnerships through creating agreements to codify day-to-day activities and support.

"If you need help or assistance getting above (wing) level support for your program, not matter what is, we are here,” said Manley.