FORT BLISS, Texas (March 13, 2015) -- Operational Contract Support, or OCS, is the planning for and obtaining of supplies, services and construction from commercial sources in support of joint operations, along with the associated contract support integration, contracting support, and management of contracted functions.

"Everyone involved must understand the consequences, intended and unintended, of OCS and how it relates to the economy, international relations and military operations," said U.S. Air Force Col. Renee Richardson, OCS Joint Exercise-15 exercise director. "If properly integrated, OCS can further the commanders' objectives and priorities."

Since 2010, the OCS community has gathered for an annual joint exercise to integrate efforts and hone skills from the tactical to strategic level. This year's exercise, OCSJX-15, began March 11 and will focus on deployment readiness, mobilization and contingency contract support to joint forces.
"Operational Contract Support is a military instrument of power during all phases of operations," Richardson said. "There is no way our military can fight without fully integrated contracting support. Through exercises like OCSJX-15, we will drive a culture change."

Richardson said the three main goals of OCS are to produce shelf-ready products for future operations, train contracting and non-contracting members, and to increase senior leader awareness and involvement in OCS.

More than 292 OCSJX-15 participants are on the ground, with more scheduled to arrive. They hit the ground running with warrior task training, followed by a week of academics and a week dedicated to OCS scenario execution.

The exercise involves Service members and civil servants from all branches of the Department of Defense, coalition service partners from three other countries, and coordination with more than 40 agencies outside of the DoD.

More than 140 individuals spent in excess of 60,000 man hours preparing for the 40-day exercise, according to U.S. Army Col. Paul Pardew, division chief for OCS on the Joint Staff.

"This is the one time of the year where we replicate how the services jointly support the warfighter," Pardew said. "The purpose of which is to increase OCS efforts across the joint force."