More companies, contracts bring better value to military
With the recent announcement by President Barack Obama downsizing forces in Iraq and increasing in Afghanistan, the Army is adapting its contracted support for troops in overseas contingency operations.
The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program will continue, with LOGCAP IV employing a new strategy developed by the Army Sustainment Command, in consultation with its higher headquarters, the Army Materiel Command and combatant commanders, who represent LOGCAP's ultimate consumers -- U.S. servicemembers and civilians in the field.
It draws from the lessons learned during the past five years and calls for improved administration and oversight.
LOGCAP was established in 1985, primarily to pre-plan for contingencies and to leverage existing civilian resources. The current version of LOGCAP, known as LOGCAP III, was awarded in 2001 to the firm Kellogg, Brown and Root Services and has been used primarily in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Djibouti, Jordan, Kenya, Uzbekistan and Georgia.
AMC first assumed management responsibilities in 1997 for LOGCAP II, which was used until 2001 in support of American forces in the Philippines, Columbia, Ecuador, Haiti, East Timor and Panama. DynCorp International LLC was awarded that contract.
The LOGCAP IV acquisition plan called for three, multi-year, best-value performance contracts with subsequent requirements to be competed as task orders among the three performance contractors. DynCorp, Fluor Intercontinental Inc. and KBR were awarded contracts in June 2007. In addition, the plan called for awarding a planning support contract, separate from the performance contracts.
With LOGCAP IV, the Army awarded three performance contractors to deliver the services, instead of just one as under LOGCAP III.
Splitting the planning and performance contracts allows the Army to manage LOGCAP actions more effectively. Performance contractors will compete for individual LOGCAP task orders, fostering a competitive situation designed to control costs and enhance quality.
Services include supply operations, field operations, engineering and construction, communication networks, transportation and cargo, facilities maintenance and repair.
A fourth contractor, Serco-North America, received the award of a multi-year, government program management support services contract in February 2007.
Status of LOGCAP IV
Remaining transition issues include complicating factors, the Army's method for resolution, specific steps planned, and a general timeline.
LOGCAP IV is under way in Southwest Asia, meeting evolving requirements. A strategy to ensure uninterrupted services for the transition of requirements currently under LOGCAP III to LOGCAP IV is also underway.
The transition in Kuwait is complicated. A LOGCAP IV task order for Kuwait awarded to DynCorp in November 2008 met protest by an unsuccessful bidder, as was a task order for Udairi Air Field awarded to DynCorp in December 2008. A third LOGCAP IV task order awarded to Fluor also was protested.
The Army Sustainment Command authorized DynCorp and Fluor to proceed under the task orders following denial of the protests by the Government Accountability Office in February 2009.
Three task orders transitioned to LOGCAP IV were announced, competed, awarded, then protested. LOGCAP III services continued until protests were resolved. The task orders are:
Aca,!Ac Task Order, 147, Kuwait Area of Operations Support
Aca,!Ac Task Order 157, Udairi Airfield
Aca,!Ac Task Order 161, Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment
Upon completion of the transition, all LOGCAP work in Kuwait will be performed under LOGCAP IV.
Operations in Afghanistan present daunting challenges. U.S. forces, often operating out of austere forward operating bases, must contend with temperature extremes and rugged terrain. The existence of multi-national coalition forces and troop expansion must also be factored in.
Urgent new requirements in Afghanistan have caused delay in the commencement of the legacy task order competition process for the transition of LOGCAP work in Afghanistan.
Certain task orders awarded under LOGCAP III are set to expire in late March, but because of active combat operations and the difficulties to physically transition, task orders will be extended to ensure uninterrupted service and to accommodate the LOGCAP IV transition.
Once initiated, it is expected that the transition could take from six to nine months, depending upon the mission, specific needs of forward operating bases and challenges inherent to the situation and environment. Examples include the size of the FOB, its location - which could affect incoming supplies - enemy attacks, and roads known to have improvised explosive devices.
In compliance with the president's increase of forces in Afghanistan, all new work identified will be competed under LOGCAP IV. A look at Regional Commands (RCs) indicate:
Aca,!Ac RC East: Emergency work awarded to Fluor to expand four existing FOBs, with a recent request to create eight new FOBs - pending requirement.
Aca,!Ac RC South: Emergency work to expand eight FOBs is underway after being competitively awarded to Fluor under LOGCAP IV.
Aca,!Ac RC East/South: Six task orders have been rolled into two for this region with a target award of early April.
A guiding principle of the transition is that it will be conditions-based, as agreed by all key stakeholders. Transition from LOGCAP III to IV is complicated by a number of sensitive, as well as practical, issues.
In-country concerns over transition focus on cost, base closures, augmented contractor presence, and likely operational impact.
For example, near-term base closure work may be handled more efficiently and effectively under LOGCAP III rather than shifting to LOGCAP IV - an effort which could result in increased costs required to mobilize additional contractors (with no long-term benefits due to the closed-ended nature of the requirement), added complexity due to the necessary coordination required between gaining and losing contractors, and increased turbulence during the transition.
Department of Defense transition planning is underway with mission changes impacting the final outcome. The original intent was to break up the single task order into five base life support task order operations and a corps logistics service support services/transportation support task order.
However, President Obama's plan to draw down forces in Iraq is being addressed based on theater realignment decisions.
LOGCAP IV is the future for the Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, especially as that program relates to overseas contingency operations. Many issues will affect the transition of requirements from LOGCAP III as well as the long-term use of LOGCAP IV. The practical realities, as well as the overall strategy, are being carefully weighed and incorporated into solutions providing the best support to U.S. forces and its allies.
(Editor's note: Lee Thompson, executive director, Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, Army Sustainment Command, contributed to this article.)