At the semi-annual U.S. Africa Command's Contracting Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, representatives from the Kaiserslautern-based 409th Contacting Support Brigade briefed on current events, initiatives and issues relevant to contracting activities in support of AFRICOM.

"Our presence at this conference was integral because of the role the 409th plays in AFRICOM's support," said Lt. Col. Roy Manauis, the 409th CSB director of strategic initiatives.

As a stakeholder in AFRICOM's concept of support, the 409th CSB is closely engaged with the AFRICOM Operations and Logistics Directorate to influence the development and implementation of AFRICOM's Service Component Operational Contract Support strategy.

"Since we play a large part in AFRICOM's contracting business, it was important for us to inform our audience as to whom the 409th CSB is, what we do and how we do it," Manauis said.

Some of the more significant discussions included the combatant commander's role in coordinating and synchronizing operational contract support and other contracting requirements on the continent. Mitigation of collateral damage was a common theme in the discussions.

Collateral damage was the term used when one contracting activity adversely impacts the local resources and infrastructure of another service or agency requirement. For example, a U.S. Navy requirement for bulk fuel for helicopter operations in support of an exercise may tax local supplies thus driving up gasoline prices for local users and vendors.

AFRICOM will move forward and work toward developing and implementing policies and guidance to delineate contracting support and sources in order to mitigate the occurrence or impacts of this collateral damage.

"This was a great opportunity to meet with the AFRICOM staff and our service component and interagency counterparts," said Lt. Col. Patrick Badar, the 409th CSB's contracting support operations officer. "The outcome was a better understanding of how they operate and the means in which we can offer mutual support."

Maj. Christopher Foster, a contracting officer with the 649th Contingency Contracting Team and deployed in support of operations in AFRICOM, spoke to the audience about best business practices for eastern Africa, where the 409th CSB is augmenting a U.S. Navy contingency contracting office.

"I addressed some of the challenges we have operating with the local vendor bases located throughout the continent," said Foster.

The 409th CSB plans and executes sustainment, operational and expeditionary contracting in support of U.S. Army Europe, and as directed to U.S. European Command and AFRICOM. In addition, the 409th CSB executes command and control of subordinate contingency contracting teams and other Army contracting assets deployed in support of USAREUR.