By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 21, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (Feb. 21, 2017) Contract support by the Mission and Installation Contracting Command's 615th Contracting Team at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, is serving to enhance Mongolian disaster preparedness and response by multinational civil and military authorities.
Gobi Wolf is a reoccurring disaster response exercise and exchange mission in Mongolia to enhance operational emergency response plans, regional partnerships and support for response to natural disasters in the region.
The exercise focuses on refining the readiness to respond to various hazard situations common to Mongolia through field exercises, problem-solving sessions and presentations followed by a detailed after-action review. This year, Gobi Wolf will center on significant secondary effects of fires, mining accidents and disease outbreaks as a result of an earthquake.
U.S. Defense Department participants include the I Corps in conjunction with the U.S. Army Pacific and Alaska National Guard. Aligned to support I Corps in this effort is the 902nd Contracting Battalion's 615th CT. Capt. Jerry Andes, the team lead, began coordination of contract support of certain services and supplies in support of the exercise last month with I Corps civil affairs engagement officials.
Master Sgt. Troy Orio-Dettling is a civil-military operations planner for I Corps who is serving as the exercise NCO in charge. He said Gobi Wolf is one of many disaster relief exercise and exchange missions in the Pacific area of responsibility to help forge partnerships and capacity building.
"Without contract support for the next DREE, support to the host nation, multinational organizations and agencies, and ourselves will hindered," Orio-Dettling said. "In-short, no contracting support will have a negative cultural impact."
Andes added that the contracted services and supplies by the 615th CT will support approximately 20 U.S. personnel participating in the exercise. Coordination is underway to determine the extent of contract support for additional exercise participants.
"Several items such as vehicles, interpreters, food service, bottled water and printing are the types of support being requested," Andes said. "At this point, all of the other typical exercise support requirements are being provided by the Mongolian government."
In addition to DOD involvement, U.S. participants also taking part include the U.S. Agency for International Development, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Army Corps of Engineers and Forest Service. Together with the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency, Mongolian armed forces and industry leaders, stakeholders aim to foster enhanced interagency communication and coordination, and civil-military interoperability. Multinational participants include China, Columbia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
"The end state for this exercise is to continue to develop a theater setting solution that enables U.S. forces and our partner nations to rapidly respond to contingency and crisis events in Mongolia and the Pacific Command area," said Lt. Col. Toney Stephenson, commander of the 902nd CBN and deputy director of the MICC-JBLM contracting office.
Planning will continue for exercise over the next three months. An initial site survey was conducted at the end of January in preparation for a contract requirements review. Andes will take part in the final site survey March 13-17 as well as travel to Mongolia at the end of April in support of Gobi Wolf that takes place May 1-5 in its capital of Ulaanbaatar and Umnogovi Province.
The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2016, the command executed more than 32,000 contract actions valued at more than $4.6 billion across the Army, including $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command also managed more than 585,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $741 million.