Contracting specialists train for disasters during contingency contracting exercise
January 7, 2011
- First CDB to support a disaster scenario
Fort Shafter, Hawaii - The 413th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Shafter become the first CSB to support a disaster scenario based on real-world events during a recent joint contracting field training exercise.
The exercise, Pacific Contingency Contracting Disaster Training, was based on Operation Unified Assistance after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The exercise focused on providing emergency contracting to a joint task force supporting a foreign disaster relief effort.
Thirty-nine Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and civilians from the 413th CSB; the 647th Contracting Squadron, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii,; the regional contracting office from Marine Corps Base Hawaii; and the1950th Contingency Team from Hawaii National Guard. The expeditionary contracting team sent two mentors to train the 413th CSB personnel. The 410th and 411th CSBs also sent mentors to train joint mentor teams.
The exercise focused on three objectives: train the brigades to deploy and establish operational contract support; operate contingency contracting in austere environments; and test communication equipment and configurations at brigade and team levels.
Maj. Ralph Barnes, contracting officer for the 410th CSB, opened the four-day exercise by discussing his experiences as the first contingency contracting officer on location in Haiti. This set the tone for operating in contingency areas with little or no support available.
Exercise participants sharpened their writing skills for purchase orders; manual contracts; setting up and using procurement defense desktop networks to ratify unauthorized commitments; and used broadband global network for communications.
The CSB's S-6 also tested the global broadband Internet satellite system, which is about the size of a laptop, for operability and mission suitability. A representative from the Pacific Command J-4 briefed participants on operation Unified Assistance actual operations after the 2004 tsunami and included some lessons learned.
One lesson for contractors was about the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Field Guide used to support the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This guide contains specifications for many of the commodities used during humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
Contingency Contracting Disaster Training participants noted that the joint training was beneficial and should have been longer because of the exposure they received to realistic proficiency tasks that aren't normally held in garrison.
The 413th Contracting Support Brigade was activated Sept. 2, 2009. Its mission is to provide contracting support to USARPAC during contingency operations in the Pacific.