JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (Feb. 26, 2016) "We're simply not going to go to war without contractors," said Ashton Carter, then-undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, logistics and technology, testifying before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in 2011.Current doctrine recognizes that U.S. armed forces, allies, combat support agencies and other U.S. government organizations will not fight the next war or respond to the next humanitarian or natural disaster without commercially sourced support. Joint Publication 4-10, Operational Contract Support, states that the requirement for OCS is driven by current manpower limits, technological capabilities within the joint force and the globalization of logistics that dictate the increased employment of contractors, and consequently, their protection, care, proper oversight and performance management. The publication continues stating that geographic combatant commanders, subordinate joint force commanders and their staffs must be familiar with how to plan for and integrate OCS during military operations. OCS is the path to this future mission success.OCS is the planning and integration of commercially contracted support into military, interagency and multinational operations. The enhanced readiness, civil-military effects and long-term sustainment capabilities OCS offers are a significant force multiplier, providing multiple options to Army and joint force commanders. With proper planning and oversight, contracted support within a geographic region or theater can create constructive and enduring effects, assist and safeguard people, and manage appropriated funds.OCS includes the ability to plan, orchestrate and synchronize the provision of contract support integration, contracting support and contractor management. These three functions are inextricably linked to achieving favorable operational and acquisition outcomes.Recognizing the importance of OCS, the DOD funds, and the Joint Staff Logistics sponsors, an annual OCS exercise -- Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise, or OCSJX. It implements the OCS planning and readiness tenets: contract support integration, contracting support and contractor management.OCSJX has evolved from U.S. Army Contracting Command's annual exercise, focused on preparing military contracting officers for deployment, into a joint, interagency and multinational exercise with non-acquisition and acquisition participants.The Mission and Installation Contracting Command, a subordinate to Army Materiel Command's ACC, is leading the exercise planning for OCSJX-16, set for March 21 through April 21 at Fort Bliss, Texas, with support from other service, interagency and multinational partners.Focused on supporting the warfighter, this year's exercise uses a U.S. Southern Command Panama Canal defense scenario. For the first time, a major maneuver warfare command will train on OCS readiness with DOD acquisition professionals, assuring complementary, not additive, training. The 1st Armored Division will join U.S. Army South, the SOUTHCOM land component command, in exercising the OCS areas of contract support integration and contractor management. The 1st AD's participation will bring an increased level of OCS training realism to the exercise and provide enhanced OCS-focused individual and collective training opportunities and readiness for Army South, 1st AD and their sustainment units."OCSJX will introduce 1AD to a new method of minimizing unintended or negative consequences from contracted support," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher King, 1st AD Operations air and missile defense battle systems manager. "This increases the effectiveness of government spending and reduces waste."During the exercise, elements of Army South and the 1st AD staffs, supported by the Defense Logistics Agency's Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office, will also form a task force OCS Integration Cell. The OCSIC will coordinate contracted effects and integrate contracted support into commanders' exercises and operational missions.The United Kingdom's Standing Joint Force Headquarters Contractor Capability Coordination Cell will train with the task force OCSIC to further its OCS capabilities, interoperability and readiness. Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Panama have been invited to send observers to the exercise to develop an understanding of U.S. joint doctrine and improve interoperability.The joint and coalition nature of the training introduces new concepts, creates an understanding of other service and partner nation OCS doctrine, and helps develop an understanding of the importance of OCS."Exercising in the joint environment not only improves our acquisition and non-acquisition OCS skills, but enhances our understanding of how OCS intersects with diverse functions and staff elements to achieve the commander's intent. Training together will make us all a much more capable force in future missions," said Col. Robert Widmann, the OCSJX-16 Air Force lead and co-executive director.With sound OCS planning and interoperability across services, allies, interagency and multinational partners, the commander's freedom of action and unity of effort are enhanced, the DOD's operational effectiveness is preserved, and taxpayers' monies are used wisely.