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Airman makes history, earns unlimited warrant contract

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Terry Agena, 48th Contracting Squadron superintendent, poses for a photo in the 48th CONS office at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 7, 2019. Agena became one of only a few U.S. Air Force enlisted members in recent history to earn an unlimited warrant in an operational contracting squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher S. Sparks)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Less than one percent of operational contracting Airmen achieve the highest level of procurement authority – an unlimited contracting warrant. For Senior Master Sgt. Terry Agena, 48th Contracting Squadron superintendent, that rarity has become a reality.

After 19 years in service, Agena became one of only a few U.S. Air Force enlisted members in recent history to earn an unlimited warrant in an operational contracting squadron.

The unlimited contract warrant allows contracting officers to procure goods, services and construction assets with no limit on the dollar amount. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, complete a 10-week warrant course, senior leader endorsement and passing a face-to-face AF-level board.

In the contracting career field, enlisted Airmen rarely earn warrants above $5 million.

“This is our Mt. Everest,” Agena said. “This is what everyone, officer, civilian or enlisted, in contracting strives for.”

For Agena obtaining this achievement is more than being able to handle contracts with an unlimited amount of money attached to them.

“I’m very passionate about what I do,” Agena said. “With our contracting requirements, I look at what capability it will bring to our wing, our Airmen and our families.”

48th CONS is primarily charged with direct contract support for the Liberty Wing but is also uniquely charged with acquisition support for 12 bases and four wings across the United Kingdom.

There are a total of 66 personnel, within the 48th CONS, and only two civilian members have an unlimited warrant. With Agena’s newly awarded warrant, it expands the capability by 33% to execute requirements locally.

“That’s the gold standard for acquisition,” said Lt. Col. Adam Coyne, 48th CONS commander. “Regardless of whether you’re an officer, civilian or enlisted, the unlimited warrant is your ‘street credentials.’ To be able to sit across the desk from industry and mission partner to help shape mission requirements, that’s absolutely critical to being a mission-focused business leader.”

Contracting Airmen, or mission-focused business leaders, are awarded the simplified acquisition warrant allowing them a beginning amount of $250,000 to acquire assets needed to support the mission.

If a contract exceeds that dollar amount, they will be unable to complete the contract, but as they gain experience the total dollar amount of those warrants can be increased.

Agena’s accomplishment serves as an example to younger Airmen to the testament of hard work and job excellence. It shows Airmen there is no glass ceiling holding them back from their career aspirations and goals.

“You may have to work a little harder but you can still get after it and earn it,” Agena said. “There’s nothing holding you back but yourself.”