Senior leaders from contracting organizations supporting U.S. Europe Command and U.S. Africa Command, and Operational Contract Support (OCS) planners from the Geographic Combatant Commands (GCC) and Joint Staff came together to discuss contracting issues, strategic sourcing, and OCS across the region during the Europe and Africa Contracting Coordination Board (EACCB). More than 60 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and civilians met in order to share information, coordinate acquisition strategies, and alleviate duplicative efforts to fulfill similar contracting support requirements through theater-strategic sourcing during this three-day event, hosted by the 414th Contracting Support Brigade in Vicenza, Italy from July 23-25.

Col. Philip Smallwood, the 414th CSB commander, welcomed Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, U.S. Army Africa commanding general, who provided opening remarks and stressed the importance of accomplishing training and missions in today's complex environment.

"As a key force multiplier, contracting support plays a vital role in everything we do as an Army and as a military...we must integrate contracting organizations early in the operational planning process, and ensure we are coordinating and synchronizing contract support across the service components," Cloutier said.

We couldn't execute our mission without your support," Cloutier continued, "You're the unsung heroes of every exercise and training. I'm here today to say thank you for all you do."

The EACCB provided an opportunity for leaders to discuss and synchronize contracting efforts and how to optimize OCS for the Warfighter. Each contracting organization in the AFRICOM and EUCOM footprint analyzed a unique problem set for their respective combatant commands and provided a tailored contracting concept of support. This approach to the deliberate planning process provided tremendous value to the EACCB participants by providing both the OCS professionals insight into the capabilities of the contracting community as well as better preparing the contracting community to understand and support a potential contingency.

Senior contracting representatives from the 414th CSB, 409th CSB, U.S Army Corp of Engineers--Europe District, U.S. Air Force Europe and Africa, U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa and Southwest Asia, U.S. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella, U.S Special Forces Command Europe and Africa,
Combined Joint Task Force--Horn of Africa, 764th Specialized Contracting Squadron, and 928th Contracting Battalion participated in the event. Leaders from partner agencies such as the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Europe Command, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, General Services Administration, Joint Staff, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army Africa, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment--Logistics were also involved

Smallwood anticipates the need for contracting support is likely to continue to grow given the military's current and expanding logistical needs for non-organic requirements in support of operations worldwide. For example, deployed troops continue to receive OCS through programs such as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which uses civilian contractors to augment the Army force structure. Service components also leverage similar programs and strategic contracts for support, such as Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP), Global Contingency Construction Multiple Award Contract (GCCMAC), Global Contingency Services Multiple Award Contract (GCSMAC), and DLA's Maintenance, Repair and Operations contract. Forums like the EACCB allow for the greater community to better collaborate and share information, build and strengthen relationships, and identify strategic sourcing opportunities to help improve readiness.

The first day of the event focused on AFRICOM and described supporting a contingency operation on very short notice in Lagos, Nigeria. Contracting organizations had the opportunity to discuss capabilities and improve the EACCB community's understanding of the feasibility and operational risks associated with commercial support. The second day of the event focused on EUCOM with similar briefs as well as a discussion of operational environments.

Maj. Trey Fryman, the commander of 764th Specialized Contracting Squadron, stated, "This board provided great insight into the current missions and needs of contracting offices. It was a great opportunity to meet and make networking connections."

The third day of the event covered various topics including foreign vendor vetting and acquisition cross-servicing agreements.

Representatives from Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment--Logistics also used this forum as an opportunity to demonstrate the newly updated Operational Contracting Support and Lead Service for Contract Coordination Interlink sites. The site redesign helped reorganize information into a more intuitive format and supports a web-based collaborative environment for further sharing and synchronization of information and market intelligence.

The next EAACB will be hosted by the Air Force Installation Contracting Command-KU, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10-12 in Germany.