For Contingency Contracting Officers, Humanitarian Relief Efforts in Pakistan Yield Valuable Lessons
Contingency contracting officers (CCOs) are supporting American fighting forces worldwide while simultaneously providing global humanitarian assistance relief, as evident in their mission assisting flood victims in Pakistan.
Tasked with command and control (C2) of DOD’s contracting role in last summer’s Pakistan relief efforts, the Office of Defense Representative-Pakistan (ODR-P) developed a plan to create life-support areas at and move supplies through Pano Aqil, Ghazi, and Chaklala airfields. All relief efforts are led by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. In lieu of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program or the Defense Logistics Agency, a combination of government-furnished property and direct contracting was used.
By mid-August, the 408th Contracting Support Brigade (CSB), Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, deployed two CCOs from Kuwait to Pakistan within 96 hours of notification of request for aid. MAJ Reese Hauenstein and MAJ Ron Blanch augmented ODR-P’s sole supporting CCO on the ground, MAJ Dave Ware.
The Expeditionary Contracting Command (ECC), Fort Belvoir, VA, and its 412th CSB, Fort Sam Houston, TX, directed the 905th Contingency Contracting Battalion (CCB), Fort Bragg, NC, to deploy to Pakistan and provide C2 assistance to the CCOs in Pakistan. This was the ECC’s first battalion headquarters to deploy OCONUS.
The 905th requested a specific mix of officers, noncommissioned officers, and civilians with unique talents to create a C2 package designed to provide oversight to contract operations.
Team Member Duties
LTC Dennis M. McGowan, Regional Contracting Center Chief, provided C2 supervision for contract operations, prepared the risk assessment, and provided contracting specific mentorship to CCOs on the ground in Pakistan. He coordinated staff actions in the absence of an executive officer.
SFC Larry W. Metcalf, Senior Enlisted Advisor, was the personnel officer, logistics officer, and information technology (IT) officer, establishing secured and unsecured Internet access and accounts for team members and ensuring international communications. “Leadership drives the OPTEMPO [operational tempo] and morale of the office,” Metcalf said. “It also serves as the foundation of having a can-do attitude no matter the contracting experience.”
MAJ Scott L. McKee was the Operations Officer responsible for planning, leading mission analysis, preparing all operations orders and fragmentary orders (FRAGOs), and managing the synchronization matrix in conjunction with tracking internal and external taskings.
MAJ Ryan E. Ocampo was the Liaison Officer, vital to operational network and knowledge management. Ocampo integrated with higher-level staff elements to transmit accurate and consistent information for the commander to retain a common operating picture.
To achieve this, Ocampo conducted staff visits with the U.S. Army Central Command logistics and resource management officers and attended the daily battle update brief. In addition, he developed a strategic communications plan, informing the contracting office’s customers—ODR-P and the U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT)—as well as other key decision makers on the what, how, and why of the contingency contracting humanitarian assistance support.
As the 905th synchronized efforts, clear lines of communication internal to ECC and with external staff elements were critical to managing daily information and strategic communications.
Knowledge of the Military Decision Making Process was vital to the team’s successful integration into CENTCOM and ARCENT’s planning process. It allowed the customer to be educated in contract support, which helped the execution of contracts to flow.
Michael L. Shipman was the Quality Assurance Specialist, a role critical to the 905th and, more importantly, to the contingency contracting team supporting Pakistan humanitarian assistance providers. He also provided assistance to units developing Performance Work Statements and Quality Assurance Surveillance Plans for all service contracts. “The key role for a quality assurance specialist is to mitigate risk by clearly defining contract requirements during [the] preaward [phase] and conducting contractor surveillance, either directly or through Contracting Control Management,” Shipman said.
Once on the ground at Camp Arifjan, the 905th immediately received guidance from the 408th CSB, and they began their mission analysis and developed a course of action.
An Executable Plan
With roles and responsibilities clearly defined at the onset of the mission, the team developed the commander’s guidance and intent into an executable plan. This became important when the Pakistani government stopped issuing humanitarian assistance visa waivers and the 905th’s mission changed from onsite C2 in Pakistan to remote C2 from Kuwait.
With the 905th integrated into the 408th and the ARCENT staffs, the team implemented the Military Decision Making Process, developed additional courses of action, sought command approval to adjust the decision, and issued a FRAGO to conduct C2 of Kuwait contract operations. During the process, the 905th identified the need to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) specifically for use in Pakistan.
The 905th established the needed SOPs for field ordering officer, reachback support, file management, contract close-out, contract action report processing (not possible in Pakistan because of information technology issues), customer handbook, and contracting officer’s representative management. The additional contracting tools required were:
- Statement of Work and Performance of Work Statements development tool.
- Service tracking contracting tool.
- Vendor database.
- Past performance tracking tool.
- Simple acquisition plan to document the rationale behind decisions made during the contracting process.
- Formal risk assessment.
The Army Contracting Command-Kuwait contracting office’s SOPs and acquisition instruction from the 408th served as the foundation for the SOPs. Existing tools from the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Integration Office and previous deployments served as the basis for these tools.
As the 905th synchronized efforts, clear lines of communication internal to ECC and with external staff elements were critical to managing daily information and strategic communications. Stakeholder analysis identified the key messages and the communication channel for each stakeholder. This was possible because of integration with and understanding the CCOs’ information needs in Pakistan, key ARCENT staff sections, the 408th commander, and ECC headquarters.
A specifically crafted situational report and weekly telephone conference format ensured a common operating picture among the operational CCOs, the 905th, the 408th, and ECC. Situation reports and teleconferences occurred in a regular and predictable manner.
By defining each team member’s roles and responsibilities, the team developed a battle rhythm, managed information, and synchronized events early in the deployment. ARCENT update briefings were also part of the battle rhythm. The liaison officer provided critical information regarding threat analysis and weather updates.
The effectiveness of an operation or system is measured in many ways, and customer satisfaction is one such measure. In this case, the C2 customer was the CCO on the ground in Pakistan. “As the staff grew in Kuwait, the C2 of the operation started to transform to a well-organized element,” Ware said. “In the end, the C2 provided by the 905th CCB was highly successful.”
- MAJ SCOTT L. MCKEE, a 51C CCO, is the Team Leader for the 611th Contingency Contracting Team, Fort Stewart, GA. He holds a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee. McKee is certified Level III in contracting and is a U.S. Army Acquisition Corps member.
- MAJ RYAN E. OCAMPO, a 51C CCO, is the S3/Operations Officer for the 904th CCB at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA. He received his commission from New Mexico Military Institute and holds a B.S. in business administration from California State University at San Marcos. He is certified Level II in contracting.