By Maj. Robert S. Mathews and Maj. Christopher L. Center, 619th Contingency Contracting Team, Fort Drum, N.Y.November 17, 2010
Contingency contracting support for ongoing exercises requires significant mission analysis and coordination with the supported unit, host nation vendors and, when applicable, the United States Embassy within the host country.
In January the 412th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in partnership with the 408th CSB, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, tasked the 900th Contingency Contracting Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C., to support the U.S. Army Central Eager Light exercise 10-01. The Eager Light exercise is a U.S. Central Command directed Third Army/ARCENT executed, biennial training exercise in the country of Jordan. It is a joint coalition exercise, which provides U.S. and Jordanian armed forces with brigade level battle staff training. The training presents unique contracting support challenges that were overcome through a shared vision between the key stakeholders of ARCENT, the U.S. Embassy and the tasked leaders from the 608th and 619th Contingency Contracting Teams from Fort Drum, N.Y. A shared vision in exercise contracting support enabled mission accomplishment for all stakeholders.
Upon receipt of the Eager Light exercise tasking, the assigned contingency contracting officers completed a mission analysis focused on the assigned tasking. The analysis enabled the contingency contracting officers to directly coordinate with the 408th CSB, which granted their warrant authority for this exercise and would provide reachback support. It also enabled the CCOs to evaluate support during previous exercises, and what actions should be replicated. The analysis also identified areas where the contracting and operational timeline could be better synchronized, ensuring that ARCENT received all required support on time, contractors were paid by the U.S. Embassy, and contracts were closed out at the conclusion of the exercise.
ARCENT fully integrated the CCOs into their exercise planning and resource management efforts. Attendance at the main planning conference in February allowed time to conduct detailed market research in Amman, Jordan, and to meet key personnel at the U.S. Embassy. The meetings conducted at the embassy lead to the CCOs understanding of Jordan's force protection considerations. The U.S. Embassy's General Services Office provided a list of vetted contractors who had been cleared by CENTCOM force protection teams.
As ARCENT's business advisors, the 412th CSB assisted in developing statements of work for exercise support that addressed all of the GSO's force protection concerns. This assistance ensured the CCOs fully understood requirements for lodging, communications, transportation, and could solicit quotes effectively to ensure that contractors were vetted and could responsibly support all contracted requirements.
ARCENT and the supporting CCOs attended the final planning conference in June, a critical point at which operational and contracting timelines must be synchronized. ARCENT finalized the operational plan for exercise execution with the U.S. Embassy and the Jordanian army. Concurrently, the CCOs notified the successful contractors verbally of the awarded contracts.
A post award conference was executed with the successful contractors to ensure that transportation, communication and lodging contracts would be synchronized with the arrival and departure of U.S Army personnel through all phases of the exercise. The post award conference is essential in this type of tasking due to force protection considerations.
During the final planning conference the nominated and appointed contracting officer representatives received the standard U.S. Army Contracting Command training package.
The 900th CCBn motto is "First in, last out," and the tasked CCOs embodied this motto in the execution phase of Eager Light. The CCOs were the first to arrive in Jordan in July and the last Eager Light 10-01 personnel to leave in August. During the execution period of the Eager Light exercise the appointed contracting officer representatives proved to be critical enablers in the CCOs mission. Quality assurance surveillance plans executed by the CORs ensured that ARCENT received excellent contract support, and allowed the CCOs to focus on administrative duties for the contract closeout phase at the conclusion of the exercise.
Upon completion of the exercise, all contracts were closed out, vendors were paid through the U.S. Embassy - Jordan, and the tasked CCOs provided out-briefs to the 408th CSB in Kuwait. Eager Light 10-01 was successful due to a shared vision of stakeholders. Synchronization through all phases of the exercise with the contracting and operational plans maintained this shared vision.