CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Sept. 29, 2015) -- As the theater of operations matures in Iraq for U.S. and coalition forces on the ground, many basic life support requirements are being met by Iraqi vendors.Sustainment contracts that bring in essentials like clean water, fuel and sanitation support are critical to build partner capacity and assist missions, said Capt. Robert Turner, the regional contracting office chief for Camp Taji, Iraq."Vendors relieve the need to bring in more Soldiers," Turner said. "It builds rapport with the locals and allows the coalition forces to focus on their warfighting functions."To help recruit and educate potential vendors, the Regional Contracting Office-Camp Taji conducted its first vendor day here Sept. 10. The event focused on informing local vendors on the contracting process of the U.S. government.The event attracted 47 local vendors who participated with several contracting officer representatives from around the camp. It was an opportunity for vendors to network and learn about the contracting requirements process in order to compete for future requirements."For new vendors, the contract bidding process can be overwhelming," Turner said. "There's certain language that we look for that they're just not familiar with."Engaging vendors early in the process benefits the coalition by providing optimum competition and ensuring the best-qualified companies are hired in meeting the customers' needs.Turner said that creating competition in the contracting process has proven to promote a higher quality of products and services. It also decreases the potential for one vendor to gain a monopoly on government contracts.Since the regional contracting office team's arrival in Taji, it has executed and administered contracts totaling more than $23.4 million supporting the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq mission.RCO-Camp Taji is one of four teams that provide contracting support to the CJFLCC-I. The team is comprised of Soldiers from across the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, but in theater they fall under operational control of the 408th Contracting Support Brigade. The 408th CSB is the lead service for contracting coordination and provides direct support contracting for U.S. forces on behalf of U.S. Army Central.