FORT CARSON, Colorado -- (Feb. 3, 2017) Through teaming efforts and lessons learned, the 602nd Contracting Team was recently able to team with its assigned unit, that enabled them to prepare for future deployments.

The 602nd CT, a contracting team of the 918th Contracting Battalion, is aligned with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The 602nd CT is comprised of a team leader/contracting officer, a senior NCO and two contract specialists.

The 3rd ABCT is deploying to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. This winter, the brigade sent 4,000 Soldiers and their equipment to Europe as the first heavy brigade to serve as part of continuous nine-month armor rotations. These rotations will act to strengthen the NATO alliance and will serve to deter aggressors in the region through partnering with our allies.

"Teaming is not something that happens overnight. It is something that requires hard work and is earned," said Sgt. 1st Class Gloria Garside, the 602nd CT NCO in charge.

"Going into the initial planning for this mission, 3rd ABCT had no concept on what we could offer their unit," said Staff Sgt. Trevah Goins, 602nd CT contracting officer. "Our contracting office had a good reputation, but our team was unknown to them because we had just begun the partnering process with the brigade combat team. We had to build that market trust and earn a positive reputation with 3rd ABCT through our actions and contracting knowledge. It would not be easy, but it would be essential for shared success."

The 602nd CT built trust by teaming with the 3rd ABCT early.

"We looked at Joint Publication 4-10, Operational Contract Support, and we identified that 3rd ABCT was in Phase 0, the shaping phase of the operation," said Staff Sgt. Rogelio Ordway, a 602nd CT quality assurance specialist. "This allowed us to begin the process early."

In an initial meeting with Col. Christopher Norrie, the 3rd ABCT commander, 602nd CT officials outlined their initial concept of support, team composition and experience, and immediately injected themselves into 3rd ABCT's deliberate planning process. In September 2016, 3rd ABCT officials had a visioning conference where, by war fighting functions, they analyzed the operation environment in subject matter expert working groups. The 602nd CT was able to attend this conference and provide valuable contracting expertise and take several contract related request for information's away to help facilitate their planning process and furthered the team's integration with 3rd ABCT. This information also went into the creation of the Annex W, which was incorporated into the 3rd ABCT operation order.

The 602nd CT also attended a number of other important planning events with 3rd ABCT in preparation for Operation Atlantic Resolve. This included the 4th ID OPORD Brief to 3rd ABCT, Soldier Readiness Processing, Rapid Fielding Initiative Draw, 3rd ABCT OPORD brief to subordinate units, Atlantic Resolve Rehearsal of Concept Drill, U.S. Army Europe situational brief to 3rd ABCT, Pre-Deployment Site Survey to Poland and Germany, and the training of more than 100 contracting officer's representatives and field ordering officers. The 602nd CT also made a point of visiting the 3rd ABCT headquarters once a week to check in with staff primaries to address any contracting concerns. These actions enabled the 602nd CT to build on their reputation as contracting professionals, establish their market trust, and add value to 3rd ABCT.

"Establishing market trust is important, but maintaining it with a good working relationship with the supported unit is vital for shared success," said Maj. Toby Birdsell, 918th Contracting Battalion executive officer. "Contracting is in the customer service business, but we also walk a fine line between supporting a unit and the unit taking ownership over that team. We cannot allow a contracting team to be aloof and unsupportive, but at the same time we must avoid assimilation and for them to lose autonomy. We have a responsibility to manage the relationship to ensure the customer knows we are there for them in an important advisory and contracting support capacity, but we also need to maintain our independence in order to allow freedom of maneuver within the operating environment."

The unit acts as the BCT commander's business advisor, but there are other stakeholders that it will work with to meet the BCT's needs. The 602nd CT is primarily supporting 3rd ABCT, but it also coordinates with the 4th ID Mission Command Element, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 409th Contracting Support Brigade in Sembach, Germany, and the 928th Contracting Battalion in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

"It is through working with all these stakeholders that we will be able to provide the optimal support to 3rd ABCT, which we may not be able to do if were under their direct operational control," Ordway said.

The methodology allowed the unit to fully integrate with 3rd ABCT and to understand their contracting needs.

"We have built our market trust through a reputation of contract knowledge and a willingness to do what we need to support our customer," Garside said. "Without that trust we could not have successfully teamed with the BCT, and our ability to plan for and support 3rd ABCT in preparation for and in support of the deployment would have been degraded."

MICC-Fort Carson is a subordinate unit of the 418th CSB at Fort Hood, Texas. It is made up of about 47 military and civilian members assigned to the contracting office and 918th Contracting Battalion who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2016, MICC-Fort Carson executed more than 567 contract actions valued at more than $74.8 million in support of its customers, including $60.1 million to American small businesses. The contracting office also managed more than 9,756 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $8.7 million.