Unlimited: Incirlik Airman granted unlimited contracting warrant

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Sandoval
  • 39th Air Base Wing

In the Air Force’s contracting career field, an unlimited warrant is the highest expenditure authority that is granted, which allows holders of the warrant to make purchases of any dollar amount.

Typically reserved for officers, enlisted members are capable of attaining this authorization but rarely do. According to a tool used to track all Air Force warrants, a total of 102 unlimited warrants are currently issued to enlisted members.

One of the newest unlimited warrant recipients is Staff Sgt. Elijah Braly, the 39th Contracting Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of architect engineering.

Capt. Gabriel Stelly, 39th CONS director of business operations, explained that warrants are special authorizations approved by the President of the United States, granting individuals the ability to spend money on behalf of the government. Airmen with over one year of contracting experience can be granted a simplified acquisition threshold currently capped at $250,000.

However when Braly first enlisted, the culture surrounding warrants was very different.

"Coming in at 2017, the attitude surrounding warrants was that only (technical sergeants) and above got them," said Braly. "It was rare for staff (sergeants) and below to receive them at all."

Braly shared that he received his first warrant, which was capped at $250,000, in 2021 when the career field began the culture shift that allowed leaders to entrust lower-tiered Airmen with warrants. Within 2 years, he was able to attain the unlimited warrant, making him the only Staff Sergeant outside of the Continental United States with this authorization.

However, like most important achievements, it wasn’t easy.

Braly explained that the process for him to get the unlimited warrant required a minimum of two years of experience with a contracting warrant, a bachelor's degree, passing the contracting officer's test, participating in the contracting study group, receiving a nomination from unit leadership, and obtaining final approval from a board typically consisting of the director of U.S. Air Forces in Europe contracting, the director of contracting policy for USAFE, a lawyer, a policy analyst, and a pricing analyst.

With the unlimited contracting warrant, new possible career opportunities become available.

“I would like to get a position at a location where I can gain experience with giant contracts,” said Braly.

Even though it's not common for an enlisted member to obtain the unlimited warrant contract, Braly said it requires good leadership and the self-drive to achieve more.

“Be persistent, and really talk to your leadership about your goals and how they can help you get you to that point,” said Braly. “Really hone your craft, understand the amount of effort it takes to get to that accomplishment, and piece by piece move toward that goal.”