Brigade provides golden support during Thailand exercise
April 3, 2013
Members of the 413th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, augmented the U.S. Pacific Command's contingency command post with military contracting professionals during Cobra Gold 2013.
Into its 32nd iteration, the United States' largest multinational joint training exercise in the Asia-Pacific region was conducted throughout the Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 11-22.
More than 21 countries demonstrated their commitment to enhancing interoperability of military forces, strengthening of regional relationships, and the promotion of security and cooperation within the region.
Cobra Gold 2013 consisted of staff exercises, various senior leader engagements, a field training exercise, as well as humanitarian and civil assistance projects. The 413th CSB's Matthew Mastick, Maj. William Griffin and Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Trice reinforced the exercise's joint contracting center established by the U.S. Marines in Bangkok.
"We train as we fight, so in my opinion this was not a challenge but a learning experience," Trice said. "I learned that regardless of the service or branch, we carry the same dedication and steadfastness to a highly critical career field as contracting professionals. We must constantly be proactive and work cooperatively with our peers and comrades to understand and operate independently within our contracting arenas."
The center provided expeditionary theater contracting for logistical support. Griffin and Trice executed contract actions valued at more than $580,000, saving the government more than $320,000 compared with last year's exercise.
Mastick said that while the other services provided contracting officers to award contracts, the Army was the only service that provided an operational contracting support planner.
"The challenge was helping the joint force identify the contracting requirements to support the mission early enough in the process so that we could determine the number and experience level of the contracting forces," Mastick said. "That information helped us determine who had the required skills to provide timely and effective expeditionary contracting support."
Mastick added that integration with the planners and constant communication with the various staff sections are critical in identifying the requirements process.
"We provided assistance identifying the operational staff 's responsibilities relating to the management and integration of contracted personnel during the mission," Mastick said. "Working with the U. S. Pacific Command during their deliberate military decision-making process has enabled me to better understand how we, as operational contracting support planners, can ensure that we are valueadded members of the team.
"I learned that developing a plan to support a complex operation can be a very time-intensive, deliberate process which requires collaboration and synchronization across the operational staff," he said.