ECJ4 sent the contracting section to the "Operational Contract Support (OCS) Planning Conference" hosted by the Joint Staff/J4 and Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Support). The purpose of this conference was to get a vector from senior leadership on OCS, share initiatives from Combatant Commands, update key planning documents and obtain an update on DoD OCS initiatives.
This conference took place from 18-19 February in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Attendees consisted of representatives from the Combatant Commands, Services and Combat Support Agencies (e.g. Defense Contract Management Agency, Defense Logistics Agency). Also, the Defense Acquisition University and the Joint Planning and Execution Community (J3, J4, J5) sent representatives.
Our senior leaders in OCS noted the increased reliance on contractor support in joint operations and need to integrate into planning at every level. Failure to plan our contract support integration and contractor management strategy will degrade our ability to support global missions. For instance, the contractor to military ratio in Iraq is approximately equal - highlighting the need to properly manage and account for this support.
As the conference focus shifted to the OCS Community of Interest, each Combatant Command briefed their initiatives and integrating OCS into the Joint Operational Planning Process. We presented our initiatives to enhance visibility and communication with the contracting components in EUCOM: Combatant Commander Logistic Procurement Support Board (CLPSB), Contracting Component Working Group and Assets and Capabilities Mapping. Next, we discussed the integration of OCS into our exercises and planning process. Due to the outstanding team effort within EUCOM, we are staying at the forefront of efforts to deliver OCS.
To ensure awareness of specific polices in a Combatant Command, OSD/DoD is directing the establishment of a OCS-Web portal. At the conference, a prototype version of the OCS-web portal was presented for discussion. The intent of this initiative is to inform contracting officers and requiring activities (outside the AOR) of EUCOM specific contracting policies, prior to awarding a contract for performance in the EUCOM AOR. Currently, the OCS-Web portal is projected for Initial Operating Capability at the end of March 2009.
Finally, an update on a major OCS initiative, JCASO was delivered. The
JCASO was established to provide a program management approach to
contingency acquisition requirements in response to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2007, Section 854. This purpose of this organization is to advance OCS for planning, exercises and training and, when requested by a Combatant Commander (CCDR), deploy as an enabling joint staff organization to augment the CCDR staff for OCS support during joint ops/exercises. EUCOM will likely employ JCASO in upcoming exercises--these are exciting opportunities to be on the cutting edge of OCS!
Overall, the OCS Planning Conference served as a great opportunity to focus our efforts and get the "latest and greatest" information. The level of awareness related to OCS needs to remain high - this is an area that crosses into every functional area/J-staff/career field. While ECJ4 is the focal point for OCS planning and execution, proper integration is a collaborative effort across EUCOM. As the saying goes, "if we fail to plan, we plan to fail" - this clearly applies to OCS.
We invite you to join this discussion, and to provide additional suggestions or comments on these ideas. All of us have a shared interest in enhancing OCS, and we at EUCOM look forward to further engaging with our partners and stakeholders on this subject.
Lt. Col. Raymond Barben