Contracting leaders build cohesive teams across Southwest Asia

By Ryan Mattox, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeOctober 11, 2019

Contracting leaders build cohesive teams across Southwest Asia
Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley presents a battalion coin to Capt. Christopher DiChiara recently at Erbil, Iraq. The Regional Contracting Command-Operation Inherent Resolve leadership team conducted a battlefield circulation that spanned six locations and too... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 11, 2019) -- Army leaders have an obligation to build cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined, fit and can win on any battlefield. To meet that obligation, the Regional Contracting Command-Operation Inherent Resolve leadership met with contracting personnel deployed across their area of responsibility to support Southwest Asia.

The 408th Contracting Support Brigade, located at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and the 902nd Contracting Battalion, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, deployed a headquarters element to Iraq where authority of the RCC-OIR was transferred to them in June. The headquarters element is comprised of Soldiers, Airmen, DOD civilians, and contractors supporting coalition forces in Iraq, Syria and Jordan.

In an effort the gain a better understanding of acquisition issues across the region, Col. Mary Drayton, the RCC-OIR senior contracting officer and 408th CSB commander, Command Sgt. Maj. DuJuania Deloatch, the RCC-OIR and 408th CSB command sergeant major, Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley, the RCC-OIR chief of contracting and 902nd CBN commander, and Master Sgt. Keita Lyles, the RCC-OIR sergeant major and 902nd senior enlisted adviser, conducted a battlefield circulation that spanned six locations and took almost a month to accomplish.

Since assuming the duties as the RCC-OIR, the team has awarded contracts valued at more than $160 million for installation support for sustaining and maintaining Army readiness for the warfighter mission supporting OIR.

In addition to providing contract support, the RCC-OIR and its subordinate regional contracting offices manage the field ordering officer program valued at more than $20 million, which provides individuals designated by a commander to obligate funds on behalf of the government for micro-purchases to meet urgent mission requirements in a contingency environment.

The RCC-OIR has the additional responsibility of providing oversight and management of the Army Contracting Command-Rock Island's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. The program supports more than 12 forward operating bases and camps across the region, providing critical life support services to more than 10,000 coalition forces valued at more than $2.5 billion.

The team visited the Regional Contracting Office-Jordan, RCO-Taji, RCO-Erbil, RCO-Al Asad Air Base, Al-Taqqadum AB and Qayyarah Airfield West in Iraq. During the team's visits it met with the Soldiers, Airmen, civilians, supported units and contractors to promote unit cohesion and recognize individual and team efforts.

Lyles continued her travels to Al-Asad AB, Al-Taqqadum and Qayyarah Airfield West, where she met the Soldiers, civilians and supported unit leadership.

"The opportunity to be on ground, walking through the various areas our personnel are directly involved with, either building or maintaining, gives such a unique experience of getting to know our personnel on a more interpersonal scale," Lyles said. "This was also the same encounter of doing quality assurance surveillances and observing quality assurance specialists learning together or teaching their new contracting officer representatives correct procedures and what to look for during their inspections."

The importance of visiting subordinate units and meeting mission partners across a geographically dispersed command footprint is crucial to building relationships and reinforcing trust for those involved in the acquisition process.

"While we rely heavily on technology in the form of e-mail, phone and video telecommunications to execute our mission across our nine locations, visiting them and meeting them face to face is critical to building that relationship and reinforcing the level of trust that is shared by all," Shilley said. "Conducting battlefield circulation provides me with an opportunity to discuss issues with our mission partners and contractors. These visits flatten the lines of communication, focused our efforts toward supporting the most powerful coalition in the world in OIR, conducting the mission of enhancing our partner's capability and capacity to defeat Da'esh."

The team visited the RCO-Jordan Aug. 19-22 for its first leg. The RCO-Jordan staff conducts contingency contracting operations support for the Area Support Group-Jordan, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-OIR, Marine Corps Forces Central Command and 335th Signal Command to secure key terrain and coordinate operational efforts to eliminate Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant elements. They also provide contracting support for material handling equipment for combat outposts in Syria. Building and equipping these positions are critical to establishing defensive positions and conducting counter-offensive operations. The team also fulfills the requirement for ambulance and truck support for the movement of wounded to and from medical care facilities, and resupply operations.

Next, Shilley and Lyles visited RCO-Taji Aug. 25-28. The staff provides contracting support for supplies, services and construction for coalition and NATO forces at the Taji Military Complex and throughout Iraq. Given the agile nature of an insurgent threat in Iraq, RCO-Taji provides acquisition support to coalition and NATO forces for non-tactical vehicles and counter terrorism academia materials, transportation equipment, building materials, supervision and non-personal services to perform base life support activities, provide logistical support for cargo and transportation. This support also provides for the next generation of Iraqi counter-terrorism operators to train, meet training schedules and fill undermanned positions to enhance border control along the Iraqi-Syrian border. Another contract delivers guard posts, provides installation of wire obstacles, and removes earth to create ditches, which provides a temporary but sustainable solution to counter illegal border activity and to counter-Da'esh operations.

After visiting RCO-Taji, Shilley and Lyles continued their travel to RCO-Erbil Aug. 29-31. The RCO-Erbil staff provides contingency contracting support to CJTF and CJSOTF forces across Iraq and Syria in order to increase coalition forces' ability to foster regional stability. The office serves as the primary line haul from Erbil to several locations within Northern Syria. The RCO's support to the Syrian logistics cell enables the warfighter to maintain offensive momentum. The RCO-Taji staff fulfills a requirement that provides life support services for personnel at Kobani Landing Zone, Syria. These services include bulk water delivery, waste removal, trash receptacles and power generation and maintenance. The team also administers a firm fixed price contract to provide digital mobile radio equipment for divestment to the Ninewah Federal Police. This support allows forces to conduct coordinated operations and protect strategic subgroups residing in province. The team provides the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade with critical information technology equipment to support advising operations from Erbil. The brigade uses the equipment to facilitate mission planning, coalition coordination and advising efforts across Iraq.

Lyles visited the RCO-Al Asad AB Sept. 6. The RCO-Al Asad staff provides contracting support to CJTF-OIR to enhance readiness, facilitate the development and sustainment of partner capacity operations in order to enable whole-of-coalition actions to defeat Da'esh, and increase regional stability. The team also manages supplies for Iraqi border guard forces. Supplies are delivered to guard posts along with other various materials for the construction of obstacles along the Iraq-Syrian border. A base life support services contract for Iraqi security forces at Besmaya supports their training mission to sustain long-term operations.

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