Less than 72 hours after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ripped through the Caribbean nation of Haiti, Expeditionary Contracting Command personnel arrived and began assessing possible contracting requirements and creating plans for future support and sustainment operations.

Aca,!A"Most of our overseas contingency operations are in support of exercises and the Joint Contracting Command efforts for OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom),Aca,!A? said John Hess, ECC principal assistant to the director, mission operations. Aca,!A"This is the first time the command has been involved in a disaster relief effort of this magnitude.Aca,!A?

The Expeditionary Contracting Command, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., is a subordinate of the Army Contracting Command, an Army Materiel Command element that was established less than three years ago. ECC personnel are deploying to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in support of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. ECC will assist U. S. forces through contracting support.

Currently ECC has three military contingency contracting officers (CCOs) on the ground in Port-Au-Prince, and another military and a civilian in Miami preparing for deployment to Haiti. The command also has one civilian and two military contracting officers in the Dominican Republic and one more military CCO preparing for deployment. Hess said the command will establish two regional contracting centers, one in Port-Au-Prince and one in the Dominican Republic. The contracting officers in Haiti are coordinating with the logistics community on the island, and establishing procedures in addition to acquiring transportation and Mission Advisory Group support.

On the island, military contracting officers will have to work within the confines of an almost nonexisting infrastructure. One gigantic challenge will be working with local businesses.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a huge issue because basically all local procurements and contracts will have to come from outside of Haiti,Aca,!A? Hess said. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a bit premature to make an assessment of what is going on in Haiti-proper in the near future, and how we will work with the locals.Aca,!A?

For the time being, Hess said the military contracting officers are initiating orders of supplies and services over the phone through verbal transactions and orders.

Hess said the biggest challenges are getting the operation up and running, and synchronization issues with other governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

The Navy, Air Force and Marines are all sending in teams with contingency contracting capabilities.

Aca,!A"This is not an insignificant effort. We have at least two personnel from ECC Headquarters going to Haiti to provide support. Our brigades are not alone out there. The headquarters is also providing a degree of reach back operational contracting planning support,Aca,!A? Hess said. Aca,!A"We also play a supporting role, and along with the AMC Army Field Support Brigade provide critical life support and services to our Soldiers.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Thu January 21st, 2010 at 16:47