To better meet the contracting needs of American government personnel on the African continent, the 414th Contracting Support Brigade, Vicenza, Italy, stood up the Regional Contracting Office Africa in Vicenza October 2013.

According to Lt. Col. Wyeth S. Anderson, director, RCO Africa, the small staff of contract specialists develops contracts and agreements for use across the African continent with half or more of its staff on the continent at any given time.

"The Africa Limited Life Support Multiple Award Task Order Contract, or ALLS MATOC and RCO Africa are the result of a senior leader engagement event we conducted internally with our workforce," said Col. Paul Pardew, 414th CSB commander. "The event asked our workforce to develop solutions to CSB missions, structure and processes. This was a team effort across the CSB. Both ALLS and RCO Africa have been huge successes. They have allowed us to more effectively train internally, focus on our customer base, and support them with contracts."

Anderson said RCO Africa's mission is to provide expeditionary contracting support to Africa Command, U.S. Army Africa and Special Operations Command Africa on an ongoing basis across AFRICOM area of responsibility. The RCO staff ensures deployed forces have the required supplies and services, i.e. transportation, food services and water, he said.

"We provide or facilitate everything from host-nation support to surface distribution to limited life support and more," said Anderson. "We have multiple award task order contracts that cover the whole continent and blanket purchase agreements that provide support in specific countries. Having these contract vehicles in place covers a majority of U.S. government requirements on the continent."

In addition to working at the contracting office, the RCO Africa Soldiers provide onsite support at many of the different operations.

"All of RCO Africa?'s deployed 51Cs (military contracting specialists) are supporting AFRICOM missions. Our best measure for success is if NCOs from requiring activities come to us with questions or for help. If they do, it means they understand what we do and they trust us to get stuff done. We get questions and requests for help constantly. There?'s no replacement for having a 51C on the ground," Anderson said.

A majority of the contracted life support will be provided under the ALLS MATOC, he added. The ALLS MATOC can support up to 1,500 personnel.

"ALLS is a firm fixed price MATOC that has been awarded to five companies. The primary objective of ALLS is to provide limited life support within the AFRICOM AOR," Anderson said. "The contract was awarded to five companies that are postured to provide limited life support to simultaneous missions across the 54 countries in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. As capable as LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) is, it isn't designed to support small or short-term missions. ALLS was developed to fill that niche.

"The first task order was awarded Dec. 20 to support Flintlock 14 in Niger," Anderson said. "We are also assisting USARAF with developing the requirements for a task order that will likely be used in Chad."

Anderson said ALLS has a 60-month ordering period but some of their other missions are long term and use LOGCAP.

"We have two 51Cs, Maj. Stephen Thorpe and Master Sgt. Wanda Knight, on the ground in Entebbe, Uganda, for 180 days supporting Operation Observant Compass. While there, they are appointed as the administrative contracting officer and quality assurance representative for the Defense Contract Management Agency," Anderson said. "This is the first time ECC 51Cs have been used to support a LOGCAP task order. They are also dual-hatted to provide expeditionary contracting support to U.S. forces operating in the Central Africa Region."