By Maj. Taamu Punatoto, Contingency Contracting Administrative Services Team-Operation Inherent ResolveDecember 5, 2019
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Dec. 5, 2019) -- Deployed Soldiers from the 605th Contracting Team at Fort Drum, New York, are assuming administrative contracting officer duties across various sites in Iraq and Jordan during a time of mission expansion and transition to the newest version of Logistics Civil Augmentation Program.
The team will experience mission expansion on this deployment. A recent realignment of all external support contracts under the Contingency Contracting Administrative Services team brings added responsibility to the mission.
LOGCAP IV is transitioning to LOGCAP V, which consists of a contract transition between two different contractors involving a transfer of services, contractor personnel and property. Prior to this, the CCAS team had oversight of LOGCAP only. With the realignment, the Taji Base Life Support and Jordan BLS now also fall under the oversight of the CCAS team.
Upon arrival in the area of responsibility, the team participated in a contracting officer review board at the 408th Contracting Support Brigade in Kuwait to test each team member's knowledge and judgment. The review ensures they are capable of demonstrating the ability to research and understand the Federal Acquisition Regulation in order to properly execute the CCAS mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. All team members successfully completed the review board and were appointed warrants by the 408th CSB command team.
"The board allowed us to demonstrate our experiences, qualifications, communication skills and ability to provide objective information as it relates to acquisitions," said Staff Sgt. Kassandra Robinson, the 605th CT NCO in charge of LOGCAP and administrative contracting officer.
The CCAS team, which previously oversaw only the OIR LOGCAP contract, recently assumed responsibility over four additional requirements including base life support contracts for Camp Taji, Iraq, Jordan and King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center as well as Jordan transportation and material handling equipment. Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley, commander of the 902nd Contracting Battalion and chief of contracting for the Regional Contracting Center-OIR, re-structured the CCAS team and his organization prior to the 605th CT's arrival.
"Empowering Maj. Michael Krivensky and his team with the oversight and management of all base life support contracts within RCC-OIR has provided us with an opportunity to gain efficiencies and provide more responsive contract support solutions to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve across the combined joint operations area," Shilley said. "They provide oversight and contract administration to contracts that provide the most comprehensive capabilities across warfighting functions to CJTF-OIR."
Fellow administrative contracting officer Sgt. 1st Class Jenny Cisneros, 605th CT, is deployed to Al Zarqa Joint Training Center in Jordan and manages all three contracts of Jordan's Army Contracting Command-Rock Island, Illinois. Since arriving, she has quickly established her internal systems and processes, established effective dialogue with her procurement contracting officer, and has conducted visits to all six sites for which she is responsible within the first month and a half.
"It was important for me to conduct my site visits as early as possible," Cisneros said. "It enabled me to see firsthand what issues are unique to each location and help the contracting officer representatives establish a plan of action to correct any outstanding the issues. It also allowed me to meet with the requiring activities and contractors on ground and provide them with a brief of who I am and my capabilities."
The Camp Taji BLS contract supports Camp Taji, Iraq. Krivensky, the CCAS team lead and lead administrative contracting officer, conducted his first site visit at Camp Taji, where he was able to meet his Taji BLS, LOGCAP administrative contracting officer and quality assurance teams as well as his lead quality assurance specialist and property administrator.
"Having personnel spread out across six sites, it will be an important part of my job to travel to observe conditions on the ground first hand, meet various stakeholders and in many cases, meet team members face to face for the first time," Krivensky said. "I decided Camp Taji would be the first stop due to the uniqueness of the site with regards to support being conducted over multiple contracts and the fact that almost half of the CCAS team is located there."
The team's primary administrative responsibility is over the LOGCAP IV contract, Task Order 0007. They work hand in hand with the Forward LOGCAP Program Management Office at Rock Island. The Program Management Office LOGCAP Forward leadership is based at Erbil, Iraq, where leadership for the contractor is also located. Its team is spread out across various sites and co-located with the CCAS team to ensure synergy across the two entities.
The CCAS team has been busy from the start with constant stakeholder engagements, the execution of more than 100 letters of technical direction just this fiscal year, more than 50 material requisitions, and on average 80-plus quality surveillances a week across all sites. Capt. Corey Griffin and Robinson assumed the LOGCAP CCAS mission for Iraq-West region, which consists of three sites that encompass more than 60% of the LOGCAP service lines across OIR. Staff Sgt. Stephanie Nye rounded out the team's placement as the administrative contracting officer for LOGCAP services at Camp Taji.
The 605th CT members are not the only personnel that encompass the CCAS team. They are also augmented by two Air Force contracting officers, eight Defense Contract Management Agency quality assurance specialists, one DCMA property administrator and one Department of the Army civilian administrative contracting officer from ACC-RI. Mike Klem, the lead quality assurance specialist for OIR, has been with the team for nine months and recently offered to extend for two months to cover a capability gap.
"All of our quality assurance specialists are high performing and have a tremendous amount of deployment experience in ensuring contractor compliance for providing the required quality of services that enable warfighters to accomplish their mission," Klem said. "We focus our risk mitigation efforts through robust surveillance of 300 lines of service, collaboration with all stakeholders, and integrated management of more than 100 contracting officer representatives. Every quality assurance specialist takes pride in their contributions; they provide the RCC-OIR commander a dedicated, adaptive and flexible workforce that can move within theater at a moment's notice to ensure operational reach and mission success."
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.