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Contracting director joins SES ranks, re-joins the Air Force
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Scott A. Kiser, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center-Hanscom director of contracting, receives the Senior Executive Service flag from Lt. Gen. C. D. Moore, AFLCMC commander, during his promotion to SES July 9. As Hanscom’s director of contracting, Kiser heads a group of more than 450 personnel on base and at three geographically separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Walter Santos)
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Contracting director joins SES ranks, rejoins Air Force

Posted 7/15/2014   Updated 7/15/2014 Email story   Print story


by Deborah L. Powers
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

7/15/2014 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Retired Col. Scott A. Kiser, recently selected as the Air Force Life Cycle Management's new director of contracting here at Hanscom, also officially became a member of the Senior Executive Service in a July 9 ceremony on base.

The achievements follow a highly decorated military career - one that began with some frank discussions.

Shortly after earning both bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration in the early 1980s, neither serving in the military nor becoming an SES was necessarily in the cards for Kiser. But subsequent straightforward conversations with a family friend - an Air Force captain who had two other brothers in the military - helped shape his course.

"I wanted to do something bigger than myself; be a part of something bigger than myself," Kiser said. "And the Air Force gave me an opportunity to serve and a chance to see the country and much of the world."

Initially he planned to serve for four years, but the experiences at his initial duty station convinced him to make it a career.

Amidst the rebuilding of the military back in the mid-1980s, Nellis Air Force Base was home to fighter aircraft, Red Flag operations, Gunsmoke exercises and the Thunderbirds. "So if you couldn't get pumped up for the United States Air Force at that base, you'd better check yourself for a pulse," he said.

Kiser quickly rose through the ranks in several Morale, Welfare and Recreation assignments, but when he learned the Air Force was looking for officers to join the contracting career field, he saw it as an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the business operations side as well.

He was selected for the Education with Industry program, a conduit to the contracting field. There was much to learn, he recalled.

"Contracting as part of the entire acquisition process is pretty complicated, and it takes a while to gain the experience, knowledge and understanding of the process - and it's ever-changing. Basic principles stay the same but there are always nuances, new statutes passed and acquisition regulation updates," he said.

Over his 27-year Air Force career, Kiser ended up serving myriad contracting assignments at all levels in virtually every major command.

After reaching the pinnacle of his active-duty career in 2012, Col. Kiser, then-director of contracting at Air Combat Command, made the decision to retire from the military. Yet he describes still having the internal drive to continuing serving.

He fed the aspiration by transitioning to a second career, landing a civil-service position at the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, or INSCOM, as the alternate principal assistant responsible for contracting and chief, contracts policy. And two years later when the opportunity here at Hanscom arose, Kiser threw his hat into the ring.

"I feel honored and humbled, quite frankly, to have been selected," he said.

As Hanscom's director of contracting, Kiser heads a group of more than 450 personnel on base and at three geographically separated units. He calls the team an almost perfect balance of tremendous young talent and seasoned veteran contracting professionals, some with decades of experience.

"Within the Air Force contracting community, Hanscom was already well-recognized as having high-quality contracting professionals who were getting selected for a lot of programs," he said. "These people are very, very good at what they do."

As a manager, he focuses on mentorship, education, training and effective communication. He hopes he'll be sensed as being approachable and emphasizes that he will, in fact, listen. "We may respectfully, professionally disagree but if someone has a systematic, clinically, thought-out change while considering all the options, we should all be open to at least discuss it," he said.

Those no-nonsense, efficiency-minded methods are the building blocks of his leadership style, comprised of three main tenets: One, support the warfighter; two, keep it simple; and three, work the issue.

"With the first tenet, that's what we're here to do: to support the warfighter. And at the end of the day you should be asking yourself, what did I do today to increase, maintain and sustain America's military strength and hence its freedom?" he explained.

His "keep it simple" rule is equally succinct: "Life is complicated and we're in a complicated business, so you must be organized if you're going to succeed and keep programs on schedule."

Working the issue can often prove difficult, he acknowledged, but "you must put personalities and personal differences aside and keep your focus on the mission - supporting the warfighter. When you do that, you have pretty good clarity of where you need to go."

Because of his respect for the Hanscom contracting team in place, Kiser intends on going into what he calls a "listening and learning mode," consulting with the workforce and delving into the programmatic details.

"There's a vast array of programs here to support, so I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about them and where I can be useful in supporting the goals of the AFLCMC, AFMC, the Air Force and our nation. Because that's really what we're all here to do," he said.

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