By Maj. Ted Cha, 900th Contracting BattalionApril 5, 2018
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (April 5, 2018) -- Soldiers and Airmen joined forces recently to test their contracting knowledge, strategy and problem-solving skills in a scenario-based exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Contracting personnel from the 900th Contracting Battalion at Fort Bragg and 4th Contracting Squadron at Seymour Johnson, North Carolina, integrated into two Army-led and two Air Force-led contracting teams to conduct training during the Joint Contracting Exercise 18-03. The exercise fostered a unique training environment that created information sharing between the two services, ultimately enhancing the training experience and shared business practices that each contracting team will gain and use when deployed to a joint contingency environment.
During the exercise, Soldiers and Airmen were assigned to the regional contracting center in a simulated foreign country. The center was divided into four geographical sections. Each section was tested with multiple situations dealing with contracting and issues involving the local community.
The exercise challenged the teams with scenarios that were derived from previous exercises and deployments based on situations often found in a contingency contracting environment. Additionally, experiences gained from 900th CBN's humanitarian support missions for Hurricanes Irma and Maria were added to the exercise.
The joint exercise solidified relationships between the contracting teams and strengthened unit readiness and training objectives.
"Every participant in this exercise walked away with a better understanding of the how the other service operates," said Air Force Maj. Stephanie Myers, the 4th CONS commander. "Contracting is a small career field; the relationships developed here will pay dividends downrange."
The idea for the exercise was originated by Lt. Col. Jason Miles, the 900th CBN commander, and was based on the Operational Contracting Support Joint Exercise concept, but on a smaller scale. The vision of incorporating concepts of OCSJX and partnering with 4th CONS laid the foundation for the creation of JCX 18-03. The two units were able to practice and train together in a joint contingency contracting environment.
"This was an excellent training exercise that delivered joint training opportunities to both Army and Air Force contracting personnel, which increased our deployment readiness," Miles said.
The joint exercise achieved the completion of many training objectives for both contracting units and has created a rippling effect for future joint contracting exercises between the two units. Due to the exercise's success, the two services have agreed to add the annual event to their training calendars. Additionally, JCX planners have already begun to build more relationships by incorporating the Marines for next year's JCX 19-03.
The 900th CBN is subordinate to the 419th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Bragg, that with another brigade and two other field directorate offices make up the MICC.
The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, MICC contracts are vital in feeding Soldiers every day, providing many of the daily base operations support services at installations, preparing conventional force members, training almost a half million students each year, and maintaining government lands and structures across the United States and Puerto Rico.