ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Illinois (Nov. 27, 2023) - A team from Army Contracting Command–Rock Island’s Power Projection & Base Readiness Directorate has provided support to the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and U.S. Army Central Command, through the Heavy Lift 9 program.
The Heavy Lift 9 contract provides heavy lift, line haul, and personnel transportation services throughout the Army Central Command area of responsibility.
Additionally, Heavy Lift 9 augments the U.S. government logistical capabilities within the Army Central Command area of responsibility. It allows the U.S. government to utilize contracted vendors assets such as material handling equipment and various truck systems to move equipment throughout the area of responsibility. Heavy Lift is often involved in deployment/redeployment of unit equipment within theater, as well as moving unit equipment to training exercises within the area of operations.
The requirement was solicited on a full and open competitive basis and awarded to the responsible offerors who provided the best value to the government, based on a tradeoff between price and performance.
Anthony Ruggles, contract specialist, stated that some of the challenges they faced in this requirement was balancing this heavy workload during a busy time with other contracts that they were working on.
“This was obviously our top priority, but we had to maintain our other contracts as well during this process,” said Ruggles. “One other challenge we faced was trying to communicate at efficient times with all parties of this process. With some parties of this process in Kuwait, Iraq, and many other areas, we had to make sure we were sending correspondence at times where we can receive responses or be able to work together most efficiently.”
David Fields, procuring contracting officer, states that during the pre-award phase, a challenge that he faced was ensuring that the requirement package was accurate, complete, and of high quality.
“Before the requirement could be routed by the customer (U.S. Army Central Command) for approval, the documents had to be vetted, which is a shared responsibility between contracting and the customer,” said Fields. “To better address this challenge, an integrated product team was setup with established milestones as well as times for regular online meetings. This allowed the team to work together to achieve the completion of the requirements package in a high quality and timely fashion.”
Fields believed that another challenge during the post-award phase was ensuring that all five awardees were in full compliance with all host nation laws, including labor laws, rules, and regulations, as well as all U.S. laws and regulations.
“Before a Heavy Lift 9 vendor can begin working in Iraq, the prime contractor and all subcontractors must receive approval from the Joint Operations Command-Iraq, which can take up to 60-90 days,” said Fields. “This is a big challenge for contracting because proper planning must be conducted to allow the Iraq task order to be awarded 90 days in advance of the required start date.”
Ruggles stated that some of the successes for him on the Heavy Lift 9 requirement was all the learning experiences and good questions that he got out of working on this with David Fields and Maria Vital-Smith.
“I came in to this midway through and had never worked anything like this,” said Ruggles. “So, for me to hop on and be able to learn as I went with their help, was my biggest success.”
Fields explained that the award occurred on time as Heavy Lift 9 had to be awarded no later than June 30, which allowed for a 90-day mandatory mobilization period prior to full task order performance.
“This was a big success considering that the contracting team was dealing with a $240 million competitive requirement, as well as award of an indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity multiple award task order contract versus a single award type contract,” said Fields. “The fact that this was a multiple award task order contract ultimately resulted in award to five contractors, which means five times the work for all awards, modifications, and future contract actions.”
Fields also explained that four different contract specialists contributed to the success of ensuring that award occurred on time, which he thought was quite impressive.
“Change is inevitable, and I am very proud of how the contracting team was able to leverage their abilities and embrace the change,” said Fields.
The Heavy Lift 9 solicitation was issued in February, and closed in March, with a total of nine proposals received. The contracting team awarded base contracts to five vendors on June 30, with an overall not to exceed ceiling of $248 million over four ordering periods, through Dec. 29, 2026.