A team of Army Contracting Command-Rock Island (ACC-RI) professionals are providing contracting expertise that is going a long way in supporting peace and stability initiatives with global capability.
ACC-RI’s Private Security Team awarded the base contract in 2018, with a ceiling of $4 billion and contract execution of just under $600 million so far. The contract provides a full spectrum of private security functions and perimeter security around Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), in support of contingency operations, significant military operations, humanitarian and peace operations, and any exercises within a Combatant Command (COCOM).
The contract has the capability to support global requirements; currently it is supporting requirements in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Mogadishu.
“We have contractor personnel who are local to the areas in Afghanistan where these bases are located,” said Ann Bonis, contract specialist. “Having local individuals that provide security forces helps reduce the risks of conflict between the deployed Soldiers and Civilians and those living in the communities around these FOBs.”
The team, comprised of Danielle Gainey, branch chief; and contract specialists Ashlee Asplund, Ann Bonis, Richard Fontenoy and Alissa Rohm, recently negotiated a number of undefinitized contract actions for a savings of almost $400,000.
All members of the team other than Gainey and Rohm rotated onto the team while the center was in a 100% telework status due to COVID-19.
“We had to all jump in remotely, so that speaks volumes about Alissa, Danielle and everybody else being able to get us up to speed and keep moving us forward in this fluid environment,” said Fontenoy. “Even more importantly, there hasn’t been a break in critical security services supporting our U.S. military and allies.”
In addition to dealing with the complexities of rotating onto the team while in a virtual, telework environment, the COVID-19 pandemic posed logistical issues in-theater, placing additional burden on getting contractors into and out of Afghanistan.
“Between us, the contractor and our requiring activities in Afghanistan, we came up with an alternative way to get the contractor into country,” said Rohm. “We found that it wasn’t actually that the entire area was shut down to everybody, it was more so that the CONUS Replacement Center (CRC) was shut down to contractors. Our contractor created what we’re calling a CRC alternative option where they are self-performing all of the training within their facilities in accordance with our regulations and then they quarantine, test and fly them into country.”
Bonis said getting contractor personnel home to their home of record during the pandemic and the coinciding drawdown of troops in Afghanistan required a reconfiguration of logistics by the contractor and the Administrative Contracting Officer, Kelly Lancy.
“We all rely on Kelly, as the ACO in theater, as our eyes on the ground as to what’s happening,” said Bonis. “If we can’t get ahold of someone within the requiring activity or get a response or whatever new POC we have to track down, Kelly has been instrumental in coordinating that and we are very grateful for him.”
Overall, the most challenging aspect of the contract, especially in Afghanistan, is trying to keep up with the customers’ needs, the requirements for which can change as frequently as hourly.
“It’s not by any fault of theirs, they’re just trying to support whether they are decreasing the footprint or addressing an urgent need when it arises at a base,” said Rohm. “The challenging part is just making sure we can accurately and quickly support our customer. We’ve never had a break in service on any of these, so I consider that a huge success.”