Few Soldiers or civilians have dedicated so much of their lives to supporting Department of Defense efforts in the U.S. Central Command as Ms. Dona Alexander. She has continuously been in Iraq or Afghanistan for more than six years, providing policy advice to contracting officers, tactical units and commanders. Seven CENTCOM - Joint Theater Support Contracting Command commanders have credited Ms. Alexander with much of their success. No one knows more about, and no single individual has done as much to advance expeditionary contracting than Dona.Ms. Alexander grew up near Charleston, South Carolina. She was raised by her mother and four stern uncles -- who in her own words would not hesitate to use the switch if she deserved it. Equally as stern with the contracting professionals she mentors, Dona at least spares the switch these days. Growing up in a disciplined environment helped shape her ability to serve in austere environments.She began her Federal service in the contracting career field in 1982 at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. Among her many tours was one on Okinawa, Japan. Working for the Air Force there was perfect for Dona, who appreciated their ability to pay great attention to detail but also really cut loose when the job was done. Her career included assignments in England, Germany and Alaska before arriving at the Pentagon in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement).It was here where Dona became familiar with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her interest in the mission and a desire to mentor Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and coalition partners moved her to volunteer for service in Iraq. While deployed there, she served as the policy chief and later the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting-Iraq. She was responsible for 13 Regional Contracting Centers during the initial stages of the U.S. Forces drawdown planning. In addition, Dona was hand-picked as the C-JTSCC liaison to the Department of State -Iraq transition. She partnered with the entire U.S. Forces-Iraq staff and State personnel to develop requirements for the State Department and the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq post 2011. After closing out Iraq, she was drawn to Afghanistan -- she wasn't done with the mission just yet!In Afghanistan, Dona took on the toughest of contracting challenges including unique contingency requirements such as Section 886 Authority (sometimes called Afghan First) and implementing Defense Base Act Insurance requirements in extreme expeditionary conditions. She also crafted a private security contract performance work statement and evaluation criteria. This standard product ensured consistent application of all laws and regulations regarding this particularly important and potentially deadly area of contracting. Dona became the "go-to person" when the Defense Department required assistance interpreting contracting perspectives toward Afghan laws or agreements. In addition to DOD, she also interfaces with the Department of State on issues affecting contracting in the Afghanistan. Her expertise, unique knowledge and skills are critical to the continued success of our contracting operations in this very challenging work environment.At no time has Ms. Alexander been more integral to the contracting mission in Afghanistan than now. As the Army assumes the Lead Service for Contracting role and C-JTSCC prepares to case its colors, she is the pivotal point of continuity. Scheduled to depart Afghanistan this fall, Dona isn't giving up. In fact, she is surging her efforts in the policy realm and training, coming up with a new method: Dona's Hour of Power!Knowledge is power. This is especially true in professions like contracting. Recognizing this, and realizing new contracting officers and NCOs each learn differently, Dona teaches an unscripted class each week where the students determine the topics during the class. Meeting via video teleconference, the discussion is free flowing. She is making every last attempt to share her knowledge during The Hour and empower the contracting professionals assigned to C-JTSCC.As she readies to depart this fall, all of us in C-JTSCC rue her final day. She will be missed professionally and personally. After all, how can you replace six years of deployed learning, 32 years of contracting experience or a person as willing to share what she knows the way Ms. Alexander has? You can't. Thank you for all you do for all of us, Dona!