Gansler Report findings help prioritize pre-deployment contracting planning
Soldiers must focus on developing a basic understanding of contracting and how contracting, when incorporated into their plans, leads to successful mission accomplishment.

Operational Contract Support is the ability to orchestrate and synchronize the provision of integrated contract support and management of contractor personnel to the joint force in a designated operational area.

It is vitally important to all commands and staffs involved with planning and managing contracted support and contractor management while deployed.

Failure to have personnel adequately trained in contracting officer representative and commander's emergency response program related responsibilities hinders management and oversight of contracts and projects in support of operations, and results in the waste of
taxpayer dollars.

Following the release of the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in
Expeditionary Operations Report, commonly referred to as the Gansler Report, and several Government Accountability Office reports, the Army made OCS integration and training a priority in pre-deployment preparation.

In December 2009, Headquarters, Department of the Army issued an execution order that outlined OCS pre-deployment requirements for deploying Army units. The goal was to ensure deploying units identify, nominate, and train an adequate number of COR and CERP personnel prior to deployment in order to efficiently support operational objectives and minimize the risk of fraud, waste, or abuse.

The order directed units to determine their COR in-theater requirements during pre-deployment site surveys with the unit they were replacing. For units that could not conduct a survey or were not replacing a unit, the order directed they plan on 80 CORs for a brigade, 25 CORs for a separate battalion, and 15 CORs for a separate company.

Although the Army went through the process of delineating a lucid road map for units to follow to successfully integrate OCS training into its pre-deployment preparations, many deploying units were either unaware of it, or simply ignored it.

Units continued to deploy unprepared to execute their OCS mission. The 412th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, under its commander, Col. Jeff Morris, recognized this shortcoming and developed an OCS training program, contingency contracting unit training, commonly referred to as C2UT, which aimed to mitigate the number of units deploying from the continental United States without an adequate number of trained COR and CERP personnel.

To demonstrate the importance of providing the training to the warfighter, the 412th incorporated it as a key part of the unit's mission statement prepare CONUS-based warfighters to accomplish their operational contract support mission while supporting the development of contracting support plans.

The 412th recognized the contracting community had a vested interest in the warfighter being prepared to execute its OCS mission, and that it required taking a lead role to bring that to fruition.

The C2UT program focuses on training and educating commanders and junior leaders on determining requirements, translating those requirements into performance work statements, and then overseeing the work to include management of contractors.

The program of instruction includes such topics as contracting basics, field ordering officers, fraud, defining requirements, how to put together a performance of work statement, how to write a quality assurance surveillance plan, and familiarization and understanding of concepts of OCS.

The overall end state of the C2UT program is to teach and train those who have been appointed to oversee contract support what rules they have to follow in order to maximize the support
and to help them accomplish their mission with utmost efficiency.

Other key components of the C2UT program include: (1) reaching out and contacting each deploying unit; (2) sending contracting professionals with deployment experience to the warfighter's location to provide training; (3) coordinating with the Logistics Civil Augmentation
Program, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and resource management offices to have subject matter experts provide blocks of training; and (4) coordinating video teleconferences between in-theater contracting officials and deploying units' logistic shops.

In fiscal year 2010, the 412th trained more than 2,500 warfighters to serve as CORs,
2,100 more to serve as FOOs, 1,900 as members of the CERP, and 1,200 for LOGCAP support and functions.

For fiscal year 2011, the 412th is on pace to exceed the numbers trained from the previous fiscal year. As the Army moves forward, the contracting community must focus on developing in the warfighter a basic understanding of contracting and how contracting, when incorporated
into their plans, leads to successful mission accomplishment.

For example, in a recent installation, logistics and environment class consisting of 16 officers, many did not have a basic understanding of contracting and why OCS is important to mission accomplishment.

Most associate contracting with the CERP-related agreements they themselves orchestrated in Iraq or Afghanistan. Moreover, few know that active duty officers and noncommissioned officers work in Mission and Installation Contracting Command contracting offices. What contracting organizations do and how they do it cannot be foreign to the warfighter.

This is why the C2UT program is so vital. Not only does it prepare the warfighter to accomplish its OCS mission, it also educates the Soldier on military contracting structures, policies, and the capabilities we provide as a contracting community.

Properly managed, OCS can be a force multiplier, achieving more than the individual task or service required by a particular contract. Moreover, synchronized and coordinated OCS can reduce costs and provide strategic options and operational flexibility, while promoting unity of
effort and enabling other capabilities.

The C2UT program is an integral asset ensuring the warfighter is prepared to perform the OCS mission, as well as understands the importance of OCS and its link to successful mission accomplishment.

Page last updated Mon August 22nd, 2011 at 00:00