FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (July 13, 2020) -- Contracting Soldiers from the 900th Contracting Battalion played a critical role in the successful execution of COVID-19 quarantine operations at Forward Operating Base Patriot, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, valued at more than $36 million over the past few months where almost 5,000 Soldiers completed their quarantine with no positive cases of the virus.
Construction began for the Army's first large-scale personnel quarantine camp, capable of housing 600 personnel, on March 14, 2020. Members of the 900th CBN immediately assumed responsibilities to perform expeditionary contract administration functions to assist the Army Contracting Command-Rock Island, Illinois, contracting office with monitoring contract compliance and quality assurance.
The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, better known as LOGCAP, was initially requested by 82nd Airborne Division officials to support their paratroopers returning from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan and the division's immediate response force returning from Kuwait. Upon completion of their quarantine, the XVIII Airborne Corps and U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Bragg took over operations and increased the camp’s capacity to support more than 850 personnel scheduled to return from extended deployments. Subsequently, officials from the U.S. Central Command ordered a stop movement of all forces deploying to the CENTCOM area of responsibility and initiated a 14-day quarantine requirement at home station before deploying. With that, the order prompted an extension of services at FOB Patriot to support deploying Fort Bragg units.
In the earlier phases of the operation, 900th CBN administrative contracting officers, a 419th Contracting Support Brigade quality assurance specialist, 82nd ABN DIV contracting officer representative, and 406th Army Field Support Brigade LOGCAP staff and contractors experienced some intricate challenges. Those included Center of Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines, safe sleeping space allocations, local policy updates, control of multiple cohorts simultaneously, frequent changes to flight schedules and continual meal count synchronization. Ultimately, constant communications with the battalion’s mission partners resulted in efficient and effective contracting support.
“Looking back at the past four months, I'd say that it was a very busy but gratifying experience,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nestor Garavito, a contracting officer representative and construction engineering tech with the 82nd ABN DIV. “With so many groups being supported at the same time, balancing command authority and contracting authority becomes challenging.
But, at the end of the day, outstanding communication and support from the contracting team made it all possible.”
The contract support contributed tremendously to installation readiness, which is an essential element for projecting combat power. The establishment of the temporary life support areas significantly increased Fort Bragg's facilities and infrastructure to meet challenges triggered by the pandemic.
“Our Soldiers played a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the Fort Bragg community through the administration of this contract and award of supporting contracts. The 900th CBN and MICC-Fort Bragg are committed to providing our mission partners with the business advice, contracting support and contract administration needed to sustain and enable the force,” said Lt. Col. Jay Vandenbos, the 900th CBN commander and director for MICC-Fort Bragg.
Just this past week, the 900th CBN concluded the oversight of the camp disassembly and site restoration. Throughout the operation, the battalion remained focused on ensuring the compliance with the terms of the contract and safeguarding the interests of the United States. Battalion leaders said the outstanding performance from all of the contracting professionals involved was remarkable and greatly contributed to the successful mission accomplishment.
The 900th CBN remains prepared to provide LOGCAP support should additional contract administration support be requested for future response missions.
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. As part of its mission, 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.