Expeditionary Contracting Command supports Khaan Quest 2011
September 13, 2011
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia--Three Expeditionary Contracting Command contracting officers had to "adapt, improvise and overcome" to support a multinational exercise here.
Maj. Lisa Carter, Maj. Michelle Lewis and Master Sgt. Eunice Haynes provided expeditionary contracting support to Khaan Quest 2011 from June 15 to Aug. 16. The training exercise, hosted by the Mongolian armed forces, was designed to strengthen the capabilities of U.S., Mongolian and other participating nations' forces in international peace support operations and civic outreach programs worldwide.
The trio, assigned to 650th Contingency Contracting Team, Yokota Air Base, Japan, executed engineering and medical capabilities projects including leasing equipment and contracting for interpreters, laundry and internet services, showers, toilets, food, water and beds, according to Col. Frederick A. Puthoff, 411th Contracting Support Brigade commander. The 650th CCT is a subordinate unit of the 411th CSB, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. He said the team had to exercise a great deal of flexibility to meet customer needs in an austere environment.
"The biggest hurdle was leasing modern equipment that meets customer needs and can accomplish the mission," Puthoff said. "Meeting a savvy customer's needs with modern, serviceable equipment in Mongolia was indeed a challenge. Working with the (Marine Corps, executive agency for the exercise) mantra of 'adapt, improvise and overcome,' we were able to work with what was available locally and still accomplish the mission."
He cited a requirement for an electric lawnmower as an example of the team's challenges.
"This is simply not available in Mongolia," he explained. "We did notice that our USMC colleagues were able to exercise a great deal of flexibility when it came to balancing requirements with what is on hand. We will take that as a lesson learned and add it to our own repertoire of contracting tools."
Jeff Parsons, Army Contracting Command executive director; Brig. Gen. Joe Bass, ECC commanding general; Vincent Faggioli, Army Materiel Command command counsel; Command Sgt. Maj. John Murray, ECC command sergeant major, observed the contracting team in action during a visit to the exercise.
"I was impressed with our team's adaptability and flexibility in an austere location," Parsons said. "That's the nature of expeditionary contracting. Our contracting officers gain tremendous experience by participation in exercises such as Khaan Quest."
The contracting team also supported the construction of a medical facility by procuring goods and services for the engineering and medical personnel. They also procured construction materials and leased equipment. Puthoff said the team's support directly contributed to the successful construction of the medial facility.
He said the contracting officers' performance was "superb." He said the exercise was a great teaching and learning experience for inexperienced team members.
"Khaan Quest allowed us to hone individual and team skills in a joint environment," he said. "It also reinforces the contract learning that happens in the garrison environment."
The 411th CSB is geographically poised to respond to any contingency in the Far East. With seven contingency contracting teams available to respond, the 411th provides flexibility and expertise in the Asian area.