JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Two 902nd Contracting Battalion Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington, are in Mongolia through June 10 supporting disaster preparedness and response by multinational civil and military authorities.
Gobi Wolf 2018 is a reoccurring disaster response exercise and exchange mission in Mongolia to enhance operational emergency response plans, regional partnerships and support for response to natural disasters in the region.
Maj. Thomas Givens, the 676th Contracting Team (CT) leader, and Staff Sgt. A.J. Dominguez, a 625th CT contract specialist, departed JBLM May 25 for Mongolia to directly support I Corps, which is the lead element for Gobi Wolf 2018. I Corps works in conjunction with the U.S. Army Pacific and Alaska National Guard.
Givens explained that contracting team members played a critical role in negotiating contract support during its recent site survey visit April 25-May 5.
"Lead planners brought our CT into the planning conferences where we were able to successfully negotiate terms of the exercise with the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)," Givens said of his team's ability to procure transportation and meals for U.S. personnel supporting the exercise at no cost. "The U.S. embassy (representative) remarked that this was the first time he has seen NEMA agree to cover down on things that were previously contracted and that our contract team provided sound advice and guidance to lead planners."
Givens added that exercise planners rely heavily on the contracting team's ability to negotiate with NEMA partners and insist that they are present anytime decisions must be made with regard to the exercise's execution.
"I think this small example really highlights the invaluable role our 51 Charlie Soldiers play as business advisers to commanders," he said.
Additional acquisition support by the contracting Soldiers include contracts for 10 interpreters, and a conference package that includes a conference center and snacks, the use of eight classrooms from a nearby school to support a command post exercise, and building materials for collapsed structure training. Both contracts are valued at approximately $67,000.
Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley, the commander of the 902nd CBN, said exercising indispensable contracting skills enhances the capabilities of contracting Soldiers to provide materiel readiness to meet today's requirements and prepare for the next contingency.
"Supporting exercises such as Gobi Wolf in an austere environment are crucial to the development of a contracting officer's development and serve as a foundation to making them capable of supporting our worldwide contracting mission anytime and anywhere," Shilley said.
Givens and Dominguez are operating from Khovd, Mongolia, which is a province of about 40,000 citizens.
"This location was picked because the terrain is rugged. Each year many tourists find themselves in need of rescue while mountain climbing, and drownings frequently occur here due to the swift rivers that run through Khovd," Givens said.
In addition to DOD involvement, a variety of U.S. agencies work hand in hand with the Mongolian NEMA, Mongolian armed forces and industry leaders to foster enhanced interagency communication and coordination, and civil-military interoperability.
About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. The command is made up of two contracting support brigades, two field directorates, 30 contracting offices and nine battalions. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, preparing more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.