JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Contracting Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, recently supported a series of exercises in the Philippines and Palau aimed at improving tactical interoperability and strengthening relations between the nations.
Members of the 676th and 625th Contracting Teams combined to provide operational contracting support for exercises Balikatan and Salaknib in the Phillipines while concurrently supporting Exercise Palau 2019.
Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine military training event focused on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter terrorism, and other combined military operations. Exercise Salaknib is an Army-to-Army theater security cooperation exercise between the Philippine Army and U.S. Army Pacific.
The combined contracting team supporting the three-part exercise over three months consisted of Maj. Thomas Givens, team lead, contract specialists Capts. Kelly Brown and Brittney Jackson, and contracting officer Staff Sgt. Jonathan Robbins. All are assigned to the 902nd Contracting Battalion.
"The contracting team was tasked to provide support to over 5,000 joint personnel, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry regiment, and 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, spread over eight geographical locations within Luzon, Philippines," Jackson said. "While there, the team facilitated end-to-end contractual support for in-land transportation, port operations as well as extensive base life support contracts, including catering, latrines, showers, internet, tents, laundry and more. The team executed 145 contract actions valued at $2.3 million."
Additionally, Givens and Robbins mobilized to Palau for concurrent training within the country in support of the 5-20th INF. Exercise Palau 2019 is a U.S. Army security cooperation and humanitarian assistance exercise conducted by USARPAC. The exercise focused on building readiness, developing partner land force capabilities and humanitarian assistance..
"The focus of these events is to increase U.S. Army presence, gain positional advantage and reassure U.S. security commitments while increasing the USARPAC presence in the region," Jackson said.
While in Palau, the team executed eight total contracts for catering, emergency road repair, range builds and transportation valued at $450,000.
Brown said that exercises such as these offer contracting Soldiers the benefit and experience of administering contracts through their entire life cycle.
"A contract is best administered by the same contracting professional in a 'cradle-to-the-grave' manner. Exercise contract life cycles span the length of an exercise, are administered primarily by Soldiers, and provide contracting Soldiers the much-preferred 'cradle-to-the-grave' exposure," he said.
He explained that, alternatively, garrison contracts typically cover multiple years, can be performed by either contracting Soldiers or civilians, but generally do not provide transitory contracting Soldiers the desired pre- thru post-award involvement.
"Thanks to this exercise, our team members were able to gain a tremendous breadth of proficiency."
About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command 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. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of 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.