411th Contracting Support Brigade: Contracting support in the land of the morning calm
September 26, 2012
Providing the stability necessary to maintain a transient workforce, the 411th Contracting Support Brigade's Korean-national workforce is the cornerstone of the brigade's success, according to the unit's senior leadership.
"Our Korean-national workforce is a very important part of our ability to provide contracting support to U.S. Forces Korea," said Michael A. Cooper, principal deputy, 411th CSB Camp Red Cloud, South Korea.
"They are the backbone of our contract specialist workforce. Some are warranted contracting officers and team leaders in our construction and services divisions where they are a critical part of our command. We could not accomplish our contract mission without their assistance."
According to Cooper, Korean-national contract specialists execute a majority of the daily contracting workload in the brigade contracting center and its four regional contracting offices.
"They provide continuity in a duty station where a large part of the workforce comes and goes every two years," Cooper said. "They also provide important language and cultural skills enabling the brigade to conduct business in Korea and to effectively communicate with supported units largely composed of Korean nationals."
According to the 411th CSB commander, their hard work and work ethic have not gone unnoticed.
"Our Korean-national workforce plays an important role in training and mentoring the 51C (acquisition, logistics and technology contracting uniform service members assigned to the 411th CSB," said Col. Fredrick A. Puthoff, 411th CSB commander.
"Many of these individuals are newly assessed into the contracting field and the Korean-national contract specialists provide them the nuts and bolts of the contracting profession. Many members of our Korean-national contracting workforce are designated military essential and remain in place to provide contingency contracting support in the event U.S. Forces Korea transitions to hostilities."
In some countries, standard business ethics are different from that of U.S. practices. Puthoff doesn't see that as a problem for his team of professionals.
"The ethical conduct of every member of the 411th CSB is continually reinforced and monitored," the colonel said. "Not only does each member of the workforce complete all Army and Department of Defense ethical training requirements, the checks and balances implemented through our policies, procedures and business practices ensure our contracting program is executed with a high degree of integrity consistent with all rules, regulations and laws."
In addition to providing professional contracting support, the local workforce also assists in the information technology, budget and policy and government purchase card arenas.
"There is no doubt that without their highly trained skills, we would have a very, very difficult time accomplishing the mission," Cooper said.