FORT HOOD, Texas (June 24, 2021) -- Contracting Soldiers from across the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and their Air Force counterparts are working together and building professional relationships using exercise scenarios to conduct theater support contracting and contingency contracting administrative services in a joint environment during virtual 2021 Joint Forces Contracting Exercise or JFCE-21 June 21-25 at Fort Hood, Texas.
The exercise planners’ intent for the exercise has been to re-invigorate the Army-Air Force contracting partnership and re-validate that joint contract contingency officers can serve as force multipliers to increase warfighter readiness, interoperability, flexibility, and freedom of movement by leveraging commercial capabilities through contracting support and contingency contracting administration services.
Operating as contracting detachments, or CONDET, Soldiers and Airmen worked through exercise scenarios to learn how they execute together in creating a joint contracting force capable of delivering contracting support and contingency contracting effects during large scale combat operations in a multi-domain environment to a unit deployed top deter aggression against U.S. interests in key areas.
The training objectives during the exercise focused on assessing CONDET performance and the ability to provide CCAS, measure CONDETs’ effectiveness based on construct and scenario where the Army is lead service for contracting coordination, and the ability to exercise mission and command and team dynamics, assess feasibility of conducting a distributed and virtual joint force contracting exercise, and capture tactics, techniques and procedures, and lessons learned that will shape future JFCEs.
“In an exercise environment like this one, it’s about building relationships beyond the formal decision-making channels and finding contracting based-solutions in support of the warfighter,” said Maj. Kwame Agyemang, the 418th Contracting Support Brigade officer in charge of operations and senior exercise controller for JFCE-21. “It’s like when meeting family members for the first time, after a while new relationships begin to form, and in this setting you start building skills that begin to solve issues quickly with little impact on the decision-making process.”
During the exercise, the Army and Air Force participants focused on learning about each other’s contracting processes in a contingency. Some of those processes are similar, but processes that are not similar allowed the Soldiers and Airmen to teach themselves how to navigate them and find solutions that complements their expertise and strengthen their weakness.
“I think it’s important for the Army to seamlessly integrate with the Air Force and our sister services to be a force multiplier using contracting in a contingency environment,” said Maj. Keia Hurt, the 901st Contracting Battalion support officer and the CONDET 1 commander and contracting officer during the exercise. “So this exercise allows us to train with our sisters services; something we don’t get to do all the time.”
For the Army this has been the first time CONDETs have been tested since contingency contracting structure was changed in 2021.
“This has allowed us to see how the new structure would interact and more realistically see how to dispatch the new CONDET,” Hurt said. “We have learned more than just integrating with our sister services, I think we have been able give CONDET an excellent trial run and have seen how the CONDET itself would function in a contingency environment.”
One impact the exercise has had on Air Force participants have mentioned has been exposure to the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, which is a contracting tool the Army uses to provide contingency support to augment the its force structure.
Air Force Master Sgt. Jan Riemenschneider, a white cell team member for the exercise and a contracting officer from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, said some have never used LOGCAP as the Defense Contracting Management Agency usually handles that part for us. The exercise is a great opportunity to get more exposure to that program.
Riemenschneider said the exercise’s biggest impact has been the relationship building aspect.
“The Air Force was leading with its technical expertise for the first two days, but as soon as we went into an arena where the Army shines, the Air Force was quick to hand off the baton and work together as team,” Riemenschneider said. “According to the evaluator I site at Joint Base-San Antonio, the team really came together and knocked the exercise injects out of the park. This shows we are playing off each other’s strength.”
The training audience and exercise control group members for JFCE-21 consisted of Soldiers and Airmen at Fort Hood, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Wright-Patterson, Ohio, Shaw AFB, South Carolina, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, Scott AFB, Illinois, JBSA-Randolph, Fort Riley, Kansas, JB Lewis-McChord, Washington, Fairchild AFB, Washington, JB Andrews, Maryland, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, Goodfellow AFB, Texas, Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado, Robins AFB, Georgia, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, and Eglin AFB, Florida.
About the MICC
Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-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.