CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - Soldiers from the 411th Contracting Support Brigade (CSB) and 906th Contracting Battalion (CBn), completed an external evaluation (EXEVAL) March 14-18 to determine the overall readiness of both units.
An EXEVAL is a unit level exercise designed to measure the proficiency rating of selected collective tasks in accordance with the Army standards. The purpose of the exercise was to validate the unit’s overall readiness. For the 411th CSB, this year’s EXEVAL exercised command and control, communications, reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) of Air Force and Army Contracting Command contracting battalions, and the contracting process and procedures under simulated contingency environment. The EXEVAL’s evaluators came from the 413th CSB, located in Hawai’i.
Leading up to the EXEVAL, the battalion and brigade engaged in pre-deployment activities associated with the military decision making process (MDMP). Traditionally, these processes often involve unit Officers to action, but 906th CBN and 411th CSB made a conscious effort to include the unit noncommissioned officers to be a substantial part of the unit planning and execution of some of the phases.
“I feel the staff exercise (STAFFEX) was a great train-up before the actual EXEVAL as the concepts translated well into the execution of the EXEVAL. The great value of lessons learned and experiences obtained,” said Sergeant First Class Thomas Misner, 906th CBN Operations noncommissioned officer in charge.
Once the MDMP was concluded, the battalion and the brigade simulated real-world movement, known as “jump tactical operations center (TOC),” to conduct its operations in Camp Humphreys. Brigade personnel also relocated to the Vandal Training Center, Camp Humphreys Digital Training Center. As the battalion and brigade staffs established their new footprint, the units were ready to receive master event scenario list (MESL) injects, a chronological list of events that links simulation to action and reflects an incident that will prompt the EXEVAL participants to implement a procedure being tested.
According to Lt. Col. Eric Makepeace, ACC G5 chief of strategy and plans and the exercise control group, 54 MESLs were injected throughout the evaluation period.
“The units did an excellent job of performing these mission essential tasks (MET) and gave us the chance to relook at our exercise procedures to improve”, said Makepeace.
“The teamwork throughout the exercise was unmatched. We consulted each other, sought out opinions and valued the diversity in the way of thinking. The discussions we were able to have not only made us a "T" for the exercise but built comradery, trust and respect which are also needed for a successful deployment. Adapting the exercise to the new FDU structure was in itself a learning experience that will continue to refine itself through time," said Sergeant First Class Dorian Wiley, 411th CSB contract support operations (CSPO) interim noncommissioned officer in charge.
Command Judge Advocate Lt. Col. Steve Smith stated, “In a garrison environment, most of day to day legal actions deal with administrative law issues, or typically contract reviews. This EXEVAL however, allowed me and the legal office to think about an operational contracting law problem set and look at the international agreements with Korea and other countries and how international law impacts our ability to contract with Korea, as well as other partner nations in a contingency."
After the conclusion of the exercise, the CSB, CBN, evaluations, and the exercise control group (ECG) participated in the after-action review, discussing the outcome of the exercise in order to enhance the current exercise structure further and internally improve units’ processes and procedures. At the end of exercise (ENDEX), the evaluators assessed both units received a rating of “T”, or trained, demonstrating the highest level of proficiency and readiness in mission command and contract proficiency.
Colonel Daryl “Gwen” Devera-Waden, 411th CSB commander stated, “This exercise is important for the Brigade not only because it certifies or validates our proficiency and readiness in the Fight Tonight Korea posture, but more so as it stressed our new Force Design Update Jr. restructure. Certain aspects of it especially for our NCOs and newly assessed 51Cs both officer and NCOs were unfamiliar. We focused on teaching and mentoring through the STAFFEX and road to war into the EXEVAL. I especially appreciated the evaluators and ACC ECG coaching and mentoring at opportune times. In the end, with Korea personnel turnover, it is important that we move forward to continue to refine our processes, products, and establish the digital repository of continuity files in order to be the Ever Vigilant – Always Ready Guardians of Contracting!”