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AFRC’s Small Business Program director eager to tackle new job

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Air Force Reserve Command

While Air Force Reserve Command has had an active Small Business Program for many years, the command recently selected its first-ever full-time Small Business Program director.

Myaleca Malone came to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, in September to take on this new role. She brings a wealth of experience to the position, having served in the acquisition career field for more than 14 years. 

“I’m very excited to be at Robins and to serve as AFRC’s first Small Business Program director,” Malone, who came to Middle Georgia from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, said during a recent interview.

She knows she has her work cut out for her, managing a Small Business Program that is anything but small. In fiscal 2023 alone, AFRC awarded $171 million in contracts to small businesses. Overall, the Small Business spend for the Air Force in 2023 was $92.4 billion.

“The purpose of our Small Business Program is to promote small business participation to the maximum extent practicable within Air Force Reserve Command,” she said. “And the reason we want to do that is because small businesses bring speed, agility and innovation to the warfighter and are the foundation to a robust industrial base. It’s our responsibility to build strong and enduring relationships with our small business industry partners.”

“Small businesses occupy a central position in the American economy and way of life,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in the Defense Department’s Small Business Strategy released in 2023. “They account for over 99% of all employer firms and generate over 44% of our nation’s economic activity. Small businesses keep our military forces combat ready with critical parts, cutting edge technology and top-notch services, and fortify our defense supply chain in times of crisis. Some of the most innovative minds in the country come from smaller companies, and in an era of strategic competition small business are one of our greatest tools.”

At AFRC, Malone works closely with Small Business professionals at each of the command’s 10 host bases to ensure the Reserve is effectively partnering with small business around the country, including small business owned by women, veterans and minorities – a point of emphasis for all federal government small business programs. In fact, on his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order that increased the share of contract dollars awarded by the federal government to small, disadvantaged businesses.

At all Reserve locations, small businesses are at work every day taking care of facilities, contributing to new construction projects, managing critical operations and performing countless other tasks. For example, a small business provides event planning services for AFRC’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program, another small business at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, supports the base’s facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization, and demolition program, and yet another small business provides transient alert services at Grissom ARB, Indiana.

“It’s vital that we are building relationships with all of our small business industry partners, making sure they know how to do business with Air Force Reserve Command, they know what our upcoming requirements are and that we are reducing barriers for them to enter the defense industrial base or do business with AFRC,” Malone said.

In addition to her role as AFRC’s Small Business Program director, Malone is also a member of the Department of the Air Force Office of Small Business Programs board of directors, where she works closely with Scott Kiser, director, Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Small Business Programs at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Kiser recently completed a visit with Malone to ensure she has what she needs to perform her duties and met with AFRC staff letting them know she has his full support.

“We are thankful for AFRC and the leadership pledging their commitment to provide her with their full support,” said Kiser.  

“This is an exciting time for small business because the president, the secretary of defense and the secretary of the Air Force are all calling for expanded utilization of the small business industrial base to meet national defense and economic security needs,” Malone said. “It’s my goal to ensure AFRC is making the best use of the important and innovative small business resources.”