By Sgt. 1st Class Kevin McClatchey, 900th Contracting BattalionJune 26, 2019
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (June 26, 2019) -- In preparation for the hurricane season, Soldiers of the 900th Contracting Battalion conducted a one-day Defense Support of Civil Authorities exercise to test their contracting knowledge.
In recent years, the hurricane season has become increasingly more volatile with effects that have caused significantly more damage than previous seasons. In keeping with its mission to provide contracting solutions in support of garrison and contingency operations at any given time, 900th CBN personnel have been called upon to provide support to humanitarian missions worldwide.
"The 900th CBN is trained and ready to perform Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations," said Lt. Col. Jason Miles, commander of the 900th CBN. "Previously, the 900th CBN has been called upon to provide timely and appropriate contracting support to both hurricanes Florence and Maria. The battalion provided essential contracting support to Title 10 forces increasing capabilities necessary to save lives, prevent human suffering, and property loss. Conducting training events like this one enhances readiness and ensures mission success."
Based on these real-world events, the commander comprised an exercise from the lessons learned to prepare his personnel to better support the possible missions in the event that they arise. During the planning phases of the exercise, Miles emphasized that the event must incorporate stressful situations to see how teams react, and he wanted an event that exercised the battalion's established operating procedures outlined within tactical standing operating procedures in order to be more streamlined and agile. The one-day exercise consisted of 16 scenarios, and it featured a mission alert, an equipment layout, and a simulated deployment to an austere location.
In support of the exercise, participants were assigned to simulate regional contracting centers located in Puerto Rico. Each contracting center was assessed on its ability to react and respond to real-world obstacles that arose during the battalion's deployments in support of DSCA.
Battalion officials said the goal of the exercise was to provide participants with an opportunity to sharpen their knowledge and experience and to identify training gaps. Additionally, the exercise forced participants to focus on being proactive opposed to reactive when preparing for possible deployments. In lieu of the hurricane season in conjunction with the battalion's mission, this exercise will not only identify preparations gaps but also allow time for the command to fill those gaps with relevant training and equipment.
The Atlantic Basin hurricane season lasts from June and through November, peaking from mid-August to late October.
Miles said the DSCA exercise was a success because it forced the participants to think outside of their day-to-day operations.
"Oftentimes as a contracting professional, you do not actually get to see the impact that your work has on the populace," he said. "The scenarios painted a clear picture of the importance of the contract specialist and the importance of getting it right, the first time."
About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists 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. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.