JFCE21 observations shape future contracting exercises
Diego Forero, center, briefs Brig. Gen. Douglas Lowrey and Command Sgt. Maj. Chantel Sena-Diaz along with Air Force Installation Contracting Center and Army Contracting Command leaders on Joint Force Contracting Exercise-21 operations during a meeting June 24 at Fort Hood, Texas. During their July 9 after action report meeting with leaders, the team discussed their processes, observations and recommendations for future joint forces contracting exercises to senior leaders. Lowrey is the Mission and Installation Contracting Command commanding general at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Sena-Diaz is the MICC command sergeant major. Forero is the chief of training readiness and exercises for the MICC. (Photo Credit: Ryan Mattox ) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (July 22, 2021) – Exercise planners involved with the execution of the 2021 Joint Forces Contracting Exercise met virtually with key stakeholders to discuss key takeaways from the exercise and its future use for preparing contracting professionals for a joint contingency environment.

During the meeting, exercise planners discussed their observations and recommendations for future joint forces contracting exercises with senior leaders from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Air Force Installation Contracting Center, and Army Contracting Command.

ACC leaders are in the development phase for future exercises and are applying this feedback to support considerations.

“The exercise was a complete success,” said Diego Forero, a MICC JFCE-21 exercise planner. “Our after action report captured various observations from the exercise control group, operations and planning, evaluators, and training audience. We achieved the exercise and training objectives with lots of great observations, training experiences and joint interactions, and is a building block to expand the exercise and training objectives. We provided an opportunity for joint training and building those relationships as well as exercising new doctrine and sharing of tactics, techniques and procedures.”

In the exercise planners’ briefing, Forero provided a proposal to establish a 12- to 16- month joint event life cycle for future JFCEs and need for additional resources for the exercise. He also provided exercise planners’ and participants’ observations for the need to continue using virtual resources for planning purposes. They also mentioned leveraging contracting expertise from external agencies to assist with scenarios, product development and maximizing academics. Exercise planners talked about incorporating joint doctrine and using existing joint exercise tools to enhance training experiences. There was discussion during the meeting regarding to the use of joint contracting detachments as a training audience versus exercising Army and Air Force pure training audiences, and expanding the training audience to incorporate contracting battalions and contracting support brigades interaction to increase mission command objectives.

“By far, the most beneficial part of the exercise has been the interaction among the joint team,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Peter O’Neill, the director of contracting for the Air Force Installation Contracting Center Operating Location-Air Mobility Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the deputy exercise director for JFCE-21. “We’ve had to rely on each other to synchronize efforts both virtually and in-person across a dispersed training audience. Learning each service’s lexicon and approach to planning and contracting has been enlightening.”

Last month, contracting Soldiers from the MICC and their Air Force counterparts spent a week at Fort Hood, Texas. 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.

They built professional relationships, conducted theater support contracting and contingency contracting administrative services in a joint environment. The intent of the exercise was 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.

“While Army and Air Force contracting have worked together for decades, we’ve recently had a lull in these types of engagements,” O’Neill said. “Regaining the connective tissue with our partners in green has been tremendous. We will build upon lessons learned from this exercise to improve future JFCE iterations. Specifically, we will nest this tactical event with larger operational contract support exercises across multiple combatant commands.”

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.