ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - More than 40 private companies gathered Jan. 28 to interact with government entities to learn more about the Afghanistan National Security Sector Development and Fielding Program and the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, its objectives, procurement needs and processes.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command hosted the Industry Forum at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. RDECOM provides acquisition expertise and CSTC-A provides the operational expertise. USASAC supports U.S. foreign policy objectives through the development, execution and management of Army security assistance programs.

CSTC-A works with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan and the international community to plan and develop the Afghan National Security Force in order to enable the Afghan government to achieve security and stability in Afghanistan.

The forum enabled industry representatives to learn about government needs, service requirements and highlights the capabilities of industry to government entities. "This exchange helps both the government and industry make more informed business decisions," said Susan Greider, RDECOM Contracting Center, Combat Operations Branch. "It [the Industry Forum] allows for an open frank discussion and transfer of ideas that may not otherwise be possible."

The United States government intends to award a contract for services to be performed in Afghanistan that support the CSTC-A mission and ultimately benefit the country of Afghanistan, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Parker, CSTC-A deputy CJ8.
"Numerous contacts were made with representatives of the companies, as well as, contacts made between attending large and small businesses," said Parker.

Government representatives presented information to industry about its efforts in Afghanistan, and then engaged in one-on-one sessions with interested vendors. The forum will expedite the procurement process through awareness, providing a networking event for industry, particularly small businesses, and validating the government's planning and identifying areas where changes need to be made, according to Greider.

"Procuring the services showcased at the event will assist CSTC-A in achieving it's mission of growing the national security of Afghanistan," said Greider. Through contacts made at the forum, a contract will be awarded for services to be performed in Afghanistan that supports the CSTC-A mission and ultimately benefit the country of Afghanistan. Services may include: expert advisors, mentors and trainers from a multitude of government and military functions including personnel, intelligence, acquisition, engineering, medical legal, military training and public affairs.

"The training in Afghanistan will focus on how to plan, develop, implement and support/sustain defense and police organizations based initially on a western model but modified for adaptation by the Afghan government in order to achieve self-sufficiency and independent operations," said Greider.