Contracting team supports mission in Chad
March 5, 2014
Tasked with providing expeditionary contracting support to regionally aligned forces in Africa, the 414th Contracting Support Brigade's Regional Contracting Center - Africa contracting support team recently deployed two contingency contracting officers from Vicenza, Italy to the Republic of Chad, Africa.
Maj. Rickey J. Torres and Sgt. 1st Class Casey E. Gordon are in theater supporting elements of the 1st Infantry Division deployed in Africa.
"Our mission is to provide expeditionary contracting support to U.S. Army forces on an ongoing basis across all countries in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility," said Torres. "Our major focus is to ensure the RAF missions are supported with the required supplies and services from commercial sources when, where, and in the manner in which they are needed."
To support the mission, the contracting support team has established strategic procurement initiatives within the continent of Africa. These initiatives ranged from rental vehicles, approved potable bottled water sources and interpreters.
"The team is well prepared and experienced to locate the best possible sources for supplies and services," Gordon said. "The team has facilitated support with proper articulation of requirements and considerations about sewage, water, electricity and weather with savings to the U.S. government. There are a lot of entities involved in these African missions, many of whom directly or indirectly influencing plans without the planner?'s knowledge. Assumptions will only lead to the detriment of the mission and the unit."
The 414th has been engaged in supporting the U.S Army RAF in Africa since the summer of 2013.
According to Torres, these missions complement and reinforce other U.S. government agency programs such as the Department of State-led and funded Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program.
"This initiative is designed to improve African military capabilities by providing selected training and equipment necessary for multinational peace support operations'" Torres said. "U.S. Africa Command supports the ACOTA program by providing military mentors, trainers and advisors at the request of State Department."
The contracting support team facilitated a plan using the Africa Limited Life Support Contract to provide limited life-support areas and transport of supplies through the Republic of Chad in support of the RAF. Torres said the Africa Limited Life Support Contract is a multiple award indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract that provides life support services that include temporary structures, ground preparation, power generation and distribution, food service, force protection materials, field sanitation and laundry service in all countries in Africa except for Egypt.
A continent with 53 countries and more than 2,000 dialects, Torres said Africa provides unique challenges and endless opportunities.
"We've faced and successfully overcame challenges such as language barriers, time-management, perceptions, weather, unusual or misguided expectations and the usual bureaucracy of policy, procedures and local laws," Torres said. "Doing business in Africa is no different from doing business anywhere else around the world. It just takes time, broadmindedness, networking and an appreciation of the local culture."
Gordon said the contracting support team has exploited the understanding of the local culture for successful outcomes.
"Doing business in Africa takes understanding, planning, and patience," Gordon said. "When dealing with local businesses we always ensure that our language is clear with a minimum of technical terms unless the situation merits their use.
"Our intent is to improve quality of life and the local economy to the maximum extent practical, establish optimistic business relations with locals, and provide the supplies or services to conduct the operation, required by the maneuver commander."