FORT BLISS, Texas (Jan. 25, 2013) -- More than 300 participants, trainers and support staff arrived at Fort Bliss as part of Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise 2013, the U.S. Army Contracting Command's annual contingency contracting readiness exercise.

The Army Contracting Command-, or ACC-designed forum and exercise trains military and deployable civilian contracting officers in warrior and contracting specific tasks. Trainees and cadre members from all Army components, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Air Force are participating. This hands-on training exposes contingency contracting officers to contracting and contingency challenges while affording them the opportunity to develop and exchange solutions with their peers from other services and Army components.

Participants began arriving Jan. 13, and the exercise will wrap up Jan. 31. According to Col. Timothy Strange, commander, 412th Contracting Support Brigade, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the exercise has five objectives:

-- Provide real-world contract scenarios to minimize contingency contracting officer ramp-up time in theater

-- Sustain contingency contracting officers' warrior skills.

-- Introduce theater-specific contingency contracting officer training and tools.

-- Enhance contingency contracting officers' confidence to excel and work in a joint contingency environment.

-- Conduct realistic senior contracting officer training for worldwide contingency missions.

Strange said the ACC team created the realistic live training exercise to replicate the conditions that contracting officers will face in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The live training is similar to the training that maneuver units receive at the training centers. The exercise provides tools, techniques and procedures necessary to deploy with confidence and the ability to support deployed forces.

This three-week exercise will train 198 contracting service members and civilians at all ranks up to brigadier general.

He said lessons learned from this exercise will be incorporated into future training exercises and into the skill sets of contingency contracting officers. The joint training will also improve interoperability between the services' contracting operations. Additionally, the exercise strives to improve contract planning and execution in a joint environment and contributes to establishing expeditionary contracting as a core and enduring Army operational capability.