Fifth time's a charm for Tschida
January 25, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas--With five contracting readiness exercises under her belt, Lt. Col. Carol Tschida has been an important figure in the growth of military and civilian contracting professionals.
Tschida has been an integral part of the last five major contracting exercises conducted by the Army Contracting Command, the Army's lead contracting agency.
She is the Expeditionary Contracting Command's strategic plans officer and the officer-in-charge of the Senior Contracting Official's Control Cell during this year's ACC Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise here. ECC is one of ACC's two subordinate commands.
She first participated as a cadre member in a contracting readiness exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C. in November 2008. Next, she served as a coach/mentor/assessor during Bold Impact in January 2010 at Fort Riley, Kan. Bold Impact was the first contingency contracting readiness exercise conducted by ECC.
Next, she served as the exercise officer-in-charge during Joint Dawn 2011 at Fort Campbell, Ky., and as the U.S. Central Command-Joint Theater Support Contracting Command Operations exercise observer during Joint Dawn 2012 here.
"This contracting exercise has grown significantly in complexity," Tschida said. "The contracting scenarios and workload used in the exercise have been modified and improved to include current policies, processes, and procedures used in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility where the majority of our personnel are deployed and we gain a vast amount of contingency contracting experience."
This year, the exercise has grown to include 18 regional contracting centers and two senior contracting official staffs.
"We also have a cell observing and capturing our doctrine gaps so that we can address them and make improvements," said Tschida. "The doctrine gap cell consists of personnel form the Department of the Army G4 (Logistics), the Joint Staff J4, the Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Integration Office, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement), ACC and ECC. Next year, we anticipate exercising a Joint Theater Support Contracting Command cell in the event."
The 26-year veteran, who has nearly six years as an enlisted Soldier and has been selected for promotion to colonel, said the relationships cultivated during exercises like this add a tremendous amount of value to the training because participants are able to learn from their joint partners and have an additional source to reach out to for help during deployments.
"Networking in our field is extremely important since we end up working with contracting officers of other services in most of our deployment areas," she said. "This environment helps our contingency contracting officers to train as they will deploy and employ their skills. It allows them to meet and build friendships and learn contracting techniques used in the other services as well as share information about current contracting policies and mechanisms in place in contingency and garrison environments.
"By training together, Army contingency contracting officers may learn how the Navy uses husbandry contracts extensively in port locations to resupply their ships moving in and out of ports all over the world, or how the Air Force has a wide range of contracts for supporting aircraft and getting airfield operations up and running in a contingency.
"My hope is that this training continues to expand and becomes a contracting milestone event used for training and deployment validation similar to Warfighter training conducted at Fort Irwin's National Training Center in California," said Tschida. "I also anticipate the exercise becoming even more joint, starting with the planning of the exercise, to incorporate ideas and scenarios from all services to grow the exercise into an even greater success in the joint contracting community."