The 1st Sustainment Brigade’s
Contract Coordination Cell
by major john r. CaudiLL
Contracting for support has become a fact of life on the battlefield. But many
Soldiers and leaders do not have their first experience with contracting until they
arrive in theater. The 1st Sustainment Brigade found that changes in organization
and training are needed to meet the challenges of contracting.
raq has matured into a complex theater for support multiple contracting officers (KOs) or, in the case of
operations. Most operations involve some level of LOGCAP, administrative contracting officers (ACOs).
contracted support, whether for maintenance servic- Each contracting mechanism has different levels of
es, line-haul of critical classes of supply, force protection involvement by the Defense Contract Management
services, bottled water production, or warehouse man- Agency (DCMA) in contract oversight and auditing.
agement. The operational environment changes rapidly, In the case of LOGCAP, an Army Materiel Com-
and combat operations are planned and executed in more mand (AMC) LOGCAP support unit (an Army Reserve
flexible and rapid processes than in the past. The planning unit) assigns regional specialists to assist in crafting
and execution of support operations, including contracted and processing changes to contracts. The companies
support, must also be flexible and responsive. involved in support operations range from international
Contract processes are complex, not uniform, and giants to regional companies to local vendors. Each of
the personnel involved are constantly rotating in and these companies has its own list of managers, deputies,
out of theater. In the contemporary operational envi- analysts, and supervisors, who rotate just like their
ronment, many contracting mechanisms, multiple con- military counterparts and make it difficult to keep con-
tracting officers, varying degrees of contract oversight, tactor rosters current.
and numerous commercial companies are involved in Each contracted effort involved in support opera-
supporting our forces. tions must have a contracting officer’s representative
The experience of the 1st Sustainment Brigade in (COR) from the military unit responsible for the con-
Iraq demonstrates that the complexity of contracting in tracted function. The COR evaluates the contractor’s
the contemporary operational environment and under performance, ensures that the contractor is in compli-
the modular force structure requires modifications to ance with the requirements of the contract, and serves
the sustainment brigade’s organization and to Army as a technical representative and liaison among the cus-
institutional leader development. I believe the contract tomer unit, the contractor, and the KO to communicate
coordination cell established by the 1st Sustainment changes or the need for changes in the contract. In Iraq
Brigade to mitigate the risks associated with the com- today, it is not uncommon for a sustainment brigade to
plex contracting environment in Iraq should be consid- have as many as 40 to 50 CORs.
ered for Army-wide adoption.
Adapting to the Challenges of Contracting
The Contracting Environment in Iraq Contracted support must be planned, just like mili-
Army logisticians must have synthesized contract tary support, to ensure timely and effective support to
planning, administration, change, and implementation operations. Guidance must be given to, and feedback
mechanisms and processes. Their contracts can range received from, contractors, just as Army commanders
from Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOG- give guidance to and expect feedback (in the form of
CAP) contracts to Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/ reports) from units. The major challenge of contract
Afghanistan contracts (whether theater-wide indefinite support planning and execution is the training (or lack
delivery/indefinite quantity contracts or local contracts of training) of military planners at all levels and their
administered by regional contracting centers) to conti- experience (or lack of experience) with the planning
nental United States (CONUS) program manager sup- and execution processes and the channels for imple-
port contracts. Each of these contract vehicles can have menting contractual changes.