FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (Nov. 27, 2020) -- Members of the 900th Contracting Battalion provided contracting advice and support for the U.S. Army Forces Command Joint Readiness Exercise 2020 that culminated recently demonstrating the Army's transportation and rapid deployment capabilities.
Battalion leadership said lessons learned supporting port operations during the joint readiness exercise provided valuable lessons for future joint operations and contracting support.
“This mission highlights the importance of being integrated early with our mission partners. The advice to leverage existing strategic sources was a critical decision point that led to seamless mission support," said Lt. Col. Jay Vandenbos, commander of the 900th CBN.
In the initial stage of the exercise, the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division was directed to perform an emergency deployment readiness exercise in conjunction with Joint Readiness Training Center 21-01 rotation taking place in October. The unit moved approximately 3,000 paratroopers from Hawaii to Louisiana, with all of the brigade's equipment arriving by ship through the Port of Beaumont and Port Arthur in Texas.
Related U.S. Transportation Command video: Joint Readiness Exercise 2020
The 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) based at Fort Eustis, Virginia, was tasked to receive 2nd IBCT’s vehicles and equipment to replicate sea point of debarkation and reception, staging, organization and integration operations of an infantry brigade into a theater of operations. The brigade is responsible for providing mission command of assigned and attached port, terminal and watercraft units conducting expeditionary intermodal operations in support of unified land operations.
Throughout the planning phase from July into September, Sgt. 1st Class Marissa Warner and Maj. Matthew Szarzynski integrated with FORSCOM and the 7th TB to identify capability gaps and provide responsive contracting solutions while in a constrained environment. Warner is the 717th Contracting Team NCO in charge, and Szarzynski is the 639th CT leader. Their efforts directly supported the execution of operations in and around the Port of Beaumont and Port Arthur.
During the fourth phase of convoy operations to JRTC, the contracting team responded to an emergency tow truck service request from transportation brigade that exceeded the unit's Government Purchase Card threshold. The contingency contracting officers quickly delivered a contract solution to allow for the successful recovery of a load handling system suspended over an overpass.
The contracting team provided business advice and contracting insights to support future operations at both seaports. They provided contracting expertise for the life support and base camp necessities required to conduct operations at multiple sites for more than 1,000 personnel. The team also advised the transportation brigade to leverage existing DOD strategic sources, such as the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program and Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, to deliver base camp life support services.
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. 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.
Related: Joint Readiness Exercise - 7th TBX
Photo gallery: 2020 Joint Readiness Exercise