By Maj. Puna Taamu, Regional Contracting Center-Operation Inherent ResolveJanuary 23, 2020
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (Jan. 23, 2020) -- When Soldiers think about the unit personnel section, very often it conjures up images of leave forms, awards and NCO evaluation reports. It is; however, much more than that.
When Capt. Lakisha Coffey assumed the personnel role of the Regional Contracting Center-Operation Inherent Resolve, commonly referred to as S1 at the brigade staff level, she demonstrated the valuable impact the position has on the mission. She stepped into a role that would have an immeasurable impact to the 902nd Contracting Battalion's mission providing operational contract support throughout Iraq, Jordan and Syria.
As an enlisted Soldier, Coffey served in several command groups, honing her skills by working closely with battalion and brigade staffs. Following her commission, she was assigned to 4th Brigade Support Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado, where she assumed command of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion furthering her expertise.
She assessed into the Amy Acquisition Corps in 2018 and was subsequently assigned to the 902nd CBN. When the call came for the 902nd CBN to deploy to Iraq, it was only natural that Coffey deploy as the battalion's only deployed S1.
It's easy to dismiss S1 functions as "just personnel services" or "human resources," but S1 capabilities and significance in a contingency operation extend beyond simply preparing administrative documents. In her capacity as the S1, Coffey single-handedly coordinated all aspects of personnel services, financial services as well as reception, staging, onward movement and integration for 10 contracting teams comprised of more the 60 Soldiers, Air Force augmentees, and individuals from the Defense Contract Management Agency. Additionally, Coffey ensured the receiving and distributing of personnel across the battlefield in an efficient and expeditious manner in accordance with the commander's vision.
This made Coffey, a St. Louis native, the lynchpin for aggregating combat power and distributing them across the combined joint operations area in order to support the mission. In fact, in order to ensure proper resource allocation, Coffey's first initiative upon assuming her duties was the improvement of the in-processing procedures for personnel arriving in Iraq and Jordan. Within a month, she launched an in-processing and integration system that decreased the in- and out-processing timeline by 30%.
"Our Soldiers have enough to do, if I can remove that burden from them, freeing them up to execute their mission and provide support to the warfighter, then we are a better Army for it," Coffey said.
Before departing the theater to return home to her husband, Lt. Col. Antonio Coffey, and their two children, she had one final contribution. She aggressively addressed outdated policies, procedures and operating instructions by spearheading a revitalization campaign. She codified all new RCC processes and policies, optimizing the flow of operations and increasing efficiency across the RCO and staff functions. She improved knowledge management by revitalizing an outdated RCC SharePoint platform, allowing for ease of access to historical and current information. Finally, she also implemented a new tracking system that tracks management of business processes, providing transparency of information up and down the chain of command.
"Captain Coffey's contribution to the team was instrumental to our success. She expertly managed the personnel functions associated with an organization that experiences a personnel turnover of 100% annually," said Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley, commander of the 902nd Contracting Battalion and chief of contracting for the Regional Contracting Center-OIR. "Her efforts ensured personnel were ready to support the mission the moment they arrived into our formation. This allowed RCC-OIR to successfully enhance and enable the coalition mission in Iraq, Jordan and Syria across all warfighting functions."
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.