408th Contracting Support Brigade Supports Eager Lion 22

By Maj. Joshua Weintraub and Capt. Alan LambertOctober 21, 2022

Amman, Jordan. Regional Contracting Office-Jordan (RCO-J) recently supported Eager Lion 22 Sept. 4-15th in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with operational contracting support. MAJ Joshua Weintraub of 902nd CBn at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA and CPT Alan Lambert of 919th CBn at Fort Bliss, TX acted as the primary business advisors to the exercise audience, specifically the ARCENT G4 lead planner, LTC Mark Reed, the sustainment integrator for the exercise. Their support culminated in the acquisition and administration of two theater support contracts for exercise network support and over 130 NTVs as well as the administration of two external support task orders awarded by ACC-Rock Island for BLS and transportation support. The value of the contracts totaled over $3.1 million and supported over 1,350 US service members.

Eager Lion is a biannual exercise planned and executed by US Central Command (CENTCOM), the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and partner countries throughout Southwest Asia and Europe. The exercise consists of a command post exercise and a field training exercise that aim to increase interoperability and joint capability in support of common defense objectives. US Army Central (ARCENT) was the lead component for this exercise.

This year, the training audience was spread out across six locations sustained and supported primarily by contracted support. This included base life support (BLS) at four locations (field feeding, billeting with latrines and showers, laundry, and office space), transportation support in the form of port handling and inland transportation throughout Jordan, and non-tactical vehicles (NTVs). Additionally, the command post exercise was supported by a commercial internet solution across five locations, providing the capability for all exercise partner nations to communicate.

Integration of Enablers for Successful Contract Execution.

When a camp is opened, typically there are enablers that support with inspections prior to occupation. These are primarily safety-related enablers as contracting is responsible overall with ensuring that all non-technical deliverables are submitted. Some examples of safety enablers are operational safety, food safety, electrical and structural engineering safety, and force health protection.

RCO-J was successfully able to tie in Army enablers to support the opening of the life support areas. These included ARCENT and 1TSC safety personnel for operational safety, Task Force Safe for electrical engineering inspections, and 169th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Service Support) (MDVSS) for a food and water risk assessment.

ARCENT and 1TSC safety personnel, LTC Brian Salie and Mr. Edward Tilley, accompanied RCO-J and each camp mayor, who were appointed CORs, during an initial and final inspection once deficiencies were corrected. TF Safe then conducted a thorough electrical inspection at each camp, first pointing out immediate dangers to life, health and safety to be corrected prior to occupation. This was followed up with a thorough report on compliance related deficiencies that were also corrected by the contractor upon receipt of the report.

“The relationship and support from RCO-J directly enabled a proactive and adaptive risk management approach and safety interoperability that preserved the base life support readiness. By doing so, our teamwork optimized USARCENT, Joint, and Coalition forces capabilities to safety rehearse Exercise EAGER LION 22 in accordance with the USARCENT CG’s Standing Guidance” expressed LTC Brian Salie, the USARCENT Deputy Director Forward.

Related to food safety, the vendor did not validate approved food sources until two weeks prior to execution for all materials they planned to use. RCO-J reacted in order for a key breakfast component, eggs, to be available for use for serving to the training audience. 169th MDVSS supported the exercise by providing a food and water risk assessment of Sinokrot Poultry Farms conducted by WO1 Florecia Philogene. This assessment certified the facility for up to six months as an approved food source.

For future exercises, RCO-J will advise and staff the inclusion of these Army resources in the exercise order. This way, there is no friction related to providing these key capabilities required to support the exercise audience with billeting and food service.

A Lesson in Relationship Building

One of the greatest lessons to be learned from RCO-J’s participation in supporting Eager Lion 22 was the importance of building relationships. These could be with the mission partner, the vendor, or enablers. Once trust is established that the contracting office is acting in the best interests of all parties, it is much easier to be included in the conversation with the planner, to be given priority against their competing requirements by the vendor, and to get the support from key enablers in the face of resource constraints.

While contracting is not the lead for sustainment, contracting is connected to and affected by almost all facets of support. Without the enablers’ support, the camps could not be opened safely. Without being involved in the components’ sustainment planning groups, not all contracting requirements would be effectively described and procured. And without opening a line of communication between the quality assurance specialists, the contracting professionals and the CORs, issues would not have been immediately brought to the attention of the vendors to be remedied.

In the end, the contracting team could act as a force multiplier because of all of the open and positive relationships the team built over the course of the exercise life cycle.