By Mr. Ryan Mattox (Mission and Installation Contracting Command)August 23, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Soldiers from the 410th Contracting Support Brigade and an Ohio National Guard Unit trained side by side for the first time, honing their contracting skills during a joint multinational training exercise Aug. 6-10.
Army Contracting Command evaluated Soldiers from the 410th CSB and 1937th Contingency Contracting Team on their ability to execute contracting support in a contingency environment.
The 410th CSB's external evaluation was the result of strategic-level planning and synchronization between ACC and the Ohio National Guard. This was the first training exercise where the two organizations' contracting Soldiers executed mission essential tasks together as they were assessed against Army standards. There was no distinction between the two units. Exercise injects simulating multiple contracting-specific challenges were presented to the participants for realistic action and resolution.
The units had to adequately navigate each inject while displaying the ability to acquire and communicate information, make and communicate decisions, then execute those decisions to a specific task proficiency.
"This was an opportunity for us to hone our skills and demonstrate our capability to provide support and services needed in the field," said Capt. Jared Owen, the 713th CCT officer in charge. "Basically, this is our time to see where we stood -- what succeeded, where we failed and what areas we could improve upon in the deployed environment."
For the ACC evaluation, the 410th demonstrated its ability to execute five mission essential tasks needed to accomplish its wartime mission: conducting expeditionary deployment operations at the brigade level; conducting expeditionary deployment operations; developing theater contracting support plans; providing contingency contract administration services; and providing theater contract support oversight for contracting support brigades.
"This ACC-led training event is one of several this fiscal year that gets after headquarters Army's guidance concerning the new Objective Assessment of Training Proficiency initiative, where Army units are assessed against a more objective set of criteria, in an effort to better determine overall readiness -- the Army chief of staff's number one priority," said Maj. Jonathan Brown, the exercise control group lead for the evaluation.
Both teams were evaluated on how well they provided contract support and service to units operating in the support of the Panama Canal Zone.
"It's really an awesome experience for us to come down here from Ohio and train alongside these ACC units and break us out of what we normally would train on in the National Guard," said Capt. Jamison Harned, an observer and evaluator for the 1937th CCT. "There are a lot of resources available to us here and this gives a unique opportunity to train and gain experience in a deployed environment."
The exercise control group was responsible for the overarching planning, synchronization and execution of the event. Exercises included a scenario build, inject development and oversight of the external evaluation teams.
The Army Contracting Command's evaluation of the 410th CSB and 1937th CCT's readiness coincided with the much larger U.S. Southern Command joint military training exercise known as PANAMAX 2018. The exercise maximizes an ACC opportunity to improve organizational readiness, and integrate and synchronize contract planning and execution with its customers.