FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (Sept. 30, 2019) -- Members of the 900th Contracting Battalion played a critical role Sept. 10-19 in validating the ability to deploy forces worldwide in support of the U.S. Army Forces Command Joint Readiness Exercise 2019.

Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Conrad and Capt. Jacob Hensch integrated early with FORSCOM and the 11th Transportation Battalion during the planning phase to identify capability gaps and provide responsive contracting solutions in support of Logistics Over the Shore operations at the Mississippi ports of Gulfport and Pascagoula.

The exercise demonstrated the Army's transportation and rapid deployment capabilities.

"It's a test of the tactical readiness of the formation to be able to alert and deploy, but it's also a strategic level test of our ability to take a formation, load its equipment, move it a long distance, and then bring it in, receive it and join it back up with that formation so it's ready to fight," said Lt. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas, the FORSCOM deputy commanding general.

Conrad, a 900th CBN contracting officer, and Hensch, the 717th Contracting Team contracting management officer, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, worked with industry to move a Roll On-Roll Off Discharge Facility via a contracted tug more than 40 nautical miles to the Port of Pascagoula. They also provided contracting expertise to FORSCOM for life support and base camp requirements to conduct operations at multiple sites.

In the initial stage of the exercise, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division was directed to perform a Level III Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise. The unit moved approximately 3,000 paratroopers and equipment from Alaska to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, by Army watercraft through the Panama Canal and into the Gulf of Mexico. The 11th Trans. Bn. based at Fort Story, Virginia, was tasked to conduct a Logistics Over the Shore mission in order to replicate shipment of brigade equipment into a theater through a degraded port as stage one of the exercise. Stage two included the demonstration of rapid port opening through a bare-beach logistics capability Sept. 14-25.

Officials from the 900th CBN said lessons learned in contracting for port operations during the joint readiness exercise will provide invaluable information for future joint operations.

"The JRE allows the Army to bring together units with different warfighting functions and integrate them into a complex exercise. Units don't always have the organic assets required and that's where we bring our contracting knowledge and expertise to assist. We help fill those capability gaps in order to help the unit succeed and make the mission happen." Hensch said. "Overall, it demonstrates the cohesion between Department of Defense military branches and their ability to conduct joint operations and deployment capabilities world-wide on short notice."

The 900th CBN, subordinate to the 419th Contracting Brigade, provides operational contracting and acquisition management support to the U.S. Army garrison, military units and tenant organizations at Fort Bragg. Supported units include FORSCOM, the U.S. Army Reserve Command, Special Operations Command, 18th Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division.

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.