JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (Jan. 31, 2022) -- Soldiers from the 902nd Contracting Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, recently completed contracting support and contract administration services for Operation Allies Welcome at Dona Ana Village outside Fort Bliss, Texas.
Operation Allies Welcome is the coordinated effort across the federal government to resettle and support vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked on behalf of the United States.
Dona Ana Village was one of eight Department of Defense installations supporting the resettlement of Afghan nationals. The operation is an extension of Operation Allies Refuge, where the U.S. helped evacuate more than 180,000 U.S. citizens and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.
The forward contracting element from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command’s 902nd CBN assisted Task Force Bliss, made up of organizations across the Department of Defense, state and Department of Homeland Security, in its efforts to process and resettle more than 11,400 Afghans seeking special immigrant visas. The forward contracting element mission included contract administration services of the U.S. Army North’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program task order, a contract implemented to provide basic life support such as essential housing, feeding, medical care, transportation, translation services to Afghan guests.
Additionally, the contracting element awarded contracts for purchases of mission-essential items not provided by LOGCAP such as winter clothing items. Contracting Soldiers also provided oversight of more than 200 linguists supporting the care of guests as the government technical monitors for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.
Maj. Travers Doane, the administrative contracting officer with the element, oversaw LOGCAP prime contractor KBR Inc. in its execution of the $600 million task order. This included coordination across numerous stakeholders including Army Contracting Command-Rock Island, supporting LOGCAP professionals, and Army North. Throughout the mission, Doane provided business advice directly to senior leaders of the 1st Armored Division and Task Force Iron. His contract administration services team constantly communicated with KBR personnel and monitored the contractor’s performance of operations and mission-critical contract requirements.
“The center of gravity for this mission was continuous monitoring of the contractor’s provided services through quality assurance to ensure the contractor was providing satisfactory services to our guests,” Doane said.
The field contracting element also provided training, oversight and management for more than 40 contracting officer representatives from Task Force Bliss.
“These subject matter experts were essential in leading the rigorous quality assurance program necessary to manage nearly 60 separate base support services in the task order,” Doane added.
From latrine cleanliness and trash removal to vector control, medical exams and cellular connectivity for the guests, Doane said contractor accountability was of paramount importance.
Sgt. 1st Class Sungkoo Jung and Staff Sgt. David Kettell conducted weekly meetings with contracting officer representatives to ensure proper contract surveillance was accomplished. One of the areas of their focus was contractor response to priority one work orders.
“Sergeant 1st Class Jung and Staff Sgt. Kettell’s efforts to revise the mayor cells’ standing operation procedure led to a significant reduction in contractor response times,” said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Pylant, the forward contracting element NCO in charge. “As wintertime temperatures dip below freezing in the desert, it’s crucial that communication happens quickly when any heater stops working. Keeping our guests warm and safe while they go through the resettlement process is one of the ways we demonstrated our success.”
The contracting element also mentored members of the 1st AD requiring activity operational contract support integration cell through the requirements development process for both LOGCAP supported services and standalone contracts supporting the guest. Doane said the team’s mentorship allowed for rapid generation of mission-critical requirements to support the guests at Dona Ana Village. One notable requirement and contract overseen by Master Sgt. Renae Trujillo, the element procuring contracting officer, was a lodging contract outside of the village supporting more than 150 medically vulnerable guests for the duration of the mission. Trujillo also procured vital winter clothing for guests including shoes, jackets and other necessities to keep guests warm during the cold desert winter.
As the population in the camp decreased with the resettlement of Afghan guests across the United States in host cities, the 902nd CBN Soldiers worked with Task Force Iron to methodically de-scope areas of the camp. Doane issued letters of technical direction during de-scope operations with the primary goal being the safety of guests at all times and to ensure critical services were maintained to support the camp's population.
“Constant collaboration was the key to our mission’s success,” Doane said. “This mission presents new and unique challenges every single day, challenges that you may not have come across in a training environment. With the health and safety of so many guests at stake, there’s very little room for error.”
With that in mind, Doane said the 902nd CBN team remained focused on the mission and the almost 12,000 Afghan refugees who had been safely processed and resettled by the end of December.
About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,300 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. 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.