OCSJX-17 kicks into full swing at Fort Bliss

By Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Leonhard, OCSJX-17 Public Affairs Cell

FORT BLISS, Texas – Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise – 2017 kicked off here March 15. OCSJX is the Department of Defense’s premier operational contract support exercise.

Nearly 450 service members and civilians from across the DOD and allied nations will participate in OCSJX-17.  The participants will test their skills and hone their abilities in tactical- and strategic-level scenarios focusing on total force integration for contingency readiness, and improve their OCS capabilities.

OCSJX-17 is designed to train individuals from the logistics, personnel, finance, legal, and contracting career fields.  According to OCSJX leaders, participants will come away with expertise to improve strategic and operational relationships.

“We’re teaching participants how to plan for, understand and think ahead for the second and third order effects,” said Col. Brian Ucciardi, Director of Contracting Operating Location Pacific for the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, and this year’s lead director of OCSJX-17.  Ucciardi, stressed the importance of planning, “If you don’t get it right during the planning phase, it [a contract] will never execute correctly and create the effects a battlefield commander is requiring.”

Ucciardi stated that there is a lot of money spent in the battlefield that has the right intentions, but may produce the wrong results and this exercise is designed to provide the participants with practical training across the full spectrum of OCS to help make sure that does not happen.

Col. Lynda Armer, the 418th Contracting Brigade Commander at Ft. Hood, Texas, and the co-director of OSCJX-17 echoed Ucciardi’s statements about the significance of planning early.

“OCSJX is not about writing contracts it’s about the planning that goes on before contracts are written. This exercise provides participants the opportunity to understand why planning and recognizing any gaps is vital.  This way the gaps can be planned for to better ensure the contract is awarded and meets the required effects.”

This year, the eighth iteration of the exercise, it consists of two phases. Participants begin with a week dedicated to academics followed by a week of OCS-scenario execution. During the second phase the participants have an opportunity to test their new knowledge and apply the lessons-learned. The director for logistics, Joint Staff J4, is funding the exercise.

OCSJX-17 is based on a U.S. Pacific Command scenario with multinational, interagency and vendor participants.  It provides an excellent level of instruction incorporating the most recent OCS doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures. OCSJX-17 provides OCS practical training to prepare the participants for planned or potential deployments.

“This exercise allows warfighters to work with their contactor support personnel,” said Capt. John Purcell, OCSJX-17 Operations Cell Lead, who is here for his second OCSJX. A procurement analyst from Air Force Installation Contracting Agency at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Purcell believes participants are better prepared to help achieve a commander’s objectives after working together in an exercise,

“More than ever, in current conflicts we rely heavily on contractors to do historically military positions,” stated Purcell, “And we should never underestimate what could happen, because no matter what amount of planning is done, the inevitable will happen.”

OCSJX-17 brings together service members and civilians from all branches of the DOD and across the total force spectrum, as well as coalition partner nations and agencies from outside the DOD. This year national forces from the United Kingdom will be participating in the exercise. To date, operational contract support joint exercises have trained more than 3,000 participants from the Office Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, services, support agencies, multi-national and interagency stakeholders.

According to Joint Publication 4-10, OCS is the process of planning for and obtaining supplies, services, and construction from commercial sources in support of joint operations. OCS is essential for maximizing the effects of the resources spent in support of operations.



Top 10 photos of OCSJX-16

Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016 provides training across the spectrum of OCS readiness from requirements and development of warfighter staff integration and synchronization through contract execution supporting the joint force commander.See some of the top photos taken by our photographers!

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DLA provides IT Capabilities to OCS

From the inaugural exercise- Operation Bold Impact at Fort Riley, Kan., to the current Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016, OCS information technology capabilities are vital in measuring the success of OCS training, execution, and readiness. This year’s exercise leveraged Contingency Acquisition Support Model(cASM). The cASM has processed over 49 requirements packages totaling over $1.3 million, as well over 85 orders totaling $1.2 million were processed using the 3-in-1 handheld device (Automated SF44), and vetted eight Host Nation vendors through the Joint Contingency Contracting System (JCCS). Warfighter operational requirements can be forecasted by having proven data sources. By providing exercise participants with real-time training support, customer support and service activities, and overall exercise sustainment, Defense Logistics Agency-contracted support resources have a proven track record that contractor support is invaluable during peacetime, wartime, and humanitarian exercises and missions supporting the Department of Defense.

OCSJX-16 trains for the fight against human trafficking

By Staff Sgt. Michelle Patten
Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016 PAO Cell

FORT BLISS, Texas- Would you recognize the signs of human trafficking if they were in front of you? Service members and civilians in the operational contract support field are on the front lines combating trafficking in persons every day and must be able to detect this sometimes subtle form of modern day slavery.

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery. An estimated 20.9 million people are victimized worldwide, according to the Department of Defense’s Strategic Plan for Combating Trafficking in Persons.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, spoke about the DOD’s focus on fighting human trafficking in 2016’s annual meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

“The Department is totally committed to combating trafficking, and the place in which we encounter it most frequently is through overseas contracting,” Kendall said. “It’s often labor-related contracting, but many cases involve prostitution as well.”

Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016, OCSJX-16, provides a valuable training venue on combating trafficking in persons for those working with contractors.

Col. Joshua Burris, deputy chief of staff for Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Sam Houston, Texas, and the executive director for DOD’s OCSJX-16, spoke about why combating trafficking in persons, CTIP, is incorporated into the exercise.

“OCSJX and the DOD’s efforts to combat trafficking are very important,” Burris said. “We understand this tarnishes the image of America and it affects our relationships with other countries.”

While deployments have declined, it is even more important to keep OCS skillsets including identification and handling of CTIP violations sharp through the annual OCSJX.

“Providing CTIP training makes OCS professionals aware that CTIP violations do happen,” said Jillian Kennedy, a part of the exercise scenario development team and a 325th Contracting Squadron infrastructure team lead at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. “The training also shows how we recognize violations, how we address them and how we fix them.”

Linda Dixon, Defense Human Resource Activity CTIP program manager, discussed the current common types of CTIP violations that are seen in the area of operations with exercise participants. These violations include poor living conditions for workers and recruiters who charge exorbitant fees to place workers in jobs.

“The main thing is you need to know who you’re doing business with,” Dixon said. “Do they understand the labor laws in the area where you’re going to be performing? Do they understand what the policies are for the U.S. government? As far as our CTIP zero tolerance policy?”

In addition to the presentation by Dixon, the exercise participants received classroom instruction on CTIP. As part of the exercise scenario, participants were given simulated CTIP violations and had to properly respond to the situation in order to stop the human rights violations. The exercise’s white cell developed the simulations based on the team’s various experiences with the types of CTIP violations they have seen in the real world, Kennedy said.
OCSJX-16 is a three-week long exercise that brings together over 500 Service members and civilians across the Services and other agencies that are involved in the OCS process. The exercise focuses on supporting the warfighter and uses a U.S. Southern Command scenario of defending the Panama Canal and providing humanitarian assistance.

The DOD announced there were 52 reported CTIP violations last year.

If you suspect an incident of human trafficking report it to the DOD Inspector General hotline at 1-800-424-9098 or http://www.dodig.mil/hotline. Or you may contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

OCSJX evolves to include warfighter presence, partner nations

By Daniel P. Elkins
Operational Contract Support 2016 Public Affairs Cell

A significant warfighter presence and the integration of partner nations marks a strategic evolution in DOD’s premier joint operational contract support exercise intended for developing integrated planning products, training the workforce and increasing senior leader awareness.

Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016, which got underway March 21 and concludes April 8, prepares uniformed and civilian operational contract support professionals to deploy and support a variety of contingency, humanitarian and operational missions. The exercise provides participants training on joint skills and warrior tasks that include contracting operations and contract planning, execution and administration.

For the first time, exercise planners have integrated the U.S. Army South and 1st Armored Division to train with contracting, financial management and judge advocate participants. While having supported the joint exercise in previous years, financial management and judge advocate members are taking a hands-on role this year. Finance support during joint operations ensures banking and currency support while judge advocates provide operational, contract and fiscal law advice as it pertains to contractors authorized to accompany the force.

The addition of the warfighter land components not only enhances training and readiness for Army South, 1st AD and their sustainment units but also adds a realistic interface for contracting officers. The warfighters make up an operational contract support integration cell, or OCSIC, responsible for coordinating and integrating OCS actions across all primary and special staffs for an operational area. In addition to providing steady-state functions, it provides oversight to existing subordinate OCSIC cells.

“It’s very important that we understand how contractors augment our force and what a big part they are,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. David DeMartelaere, 1st Armored Division air and missile defense chief. “Contractor management helps us gain that advantage to where we can effectively manage who’s on the ground and augment our force properly for a successful mission.”

OCSJX-16 integrates planning and key processes for contract support integration, contracting support and contractor management. It includes a focus on OCS readiness for those deploying in support of combatant commanders. This year, OCSJX-16 is using a U.S. Southern Command scenario in defense of the Panama Canal to support training and assessment of operational contract support capabilities against a variety of exercise events that were developed during workshops over the past several months.

Harry Hallock, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement. He is responsible for managing the Army’s procurement mission including development and dissemination of policies, processes and contracting business systems. He agrees that the addition of the warfighter this year enhances the exercise and is critical in their understanding of the importance of “doing the job up front” when generating requirements.

“As we realize how much power this exercise has, we bring in those who are impacted, the warfighter,” Hallock said. “There’s no way it could be anything other than a great addition to what we’re already doing, to try and understand each other better and support the warfighter when it comes to the contracting mission.”

Reinforcing the interoperability training aspect of the exercise is the addition of the United Kingdom’s Joint Forces Command. The UK’s Joint Forces Command provides foundational support for operations by ensuring joint capabilities to include training are developed and managed as part of its support of overseas defense operations. JFC members help make up the contractor capability coordinator cell at the exercise to train on contracted support concepts as well as assess the interoperability of OCS with those of the U.S. OCS integration cell.

Royal Navy Cmdr. Julian Titmuss is a lead exercise planner for OCSJX-16 and is responsible for the design and delivery of policy for assured contractor support to operations.

“The greatest takeaway we have from this exercise in particular are the similarities and issues that exist between U.K. and the U.S. Effectively, the U.S. is probably our closest partner and has been for many, many years,” Titmuss said. “Where the U.S. goes, we may find ourselves going, and so it helps if we’re able to integrate and operate together effectively and efficiently and understand, notwithstanding different government controls, that we’re able to work together.”

He added that UK doctrine entails a requirement to use contractors effectively as an integral partner in routine business, necessitating their inclusion into the force generation process. Titmuss said this requirement calls for an understanding that OCS extends beyond the logisticians or contracting community.

“It’s absolutely a commander’s business, because this is about capability. Therefore it’s put into our doctrine. Some of the concepts we draw from your use of OCS are very useful, and we’re building that into our own concept of employment for a contract capability coordinator,” he said.

Also, multinational partners from Brazil and Chile are exploring OCS concepts during the exercise as observers to develop an understanding and gauge possible application for improved interoperability.

This is the third iteration of the joint functional exercise. It has evolved from a multi-service annual exercise preparing contingency contracting officers for deployment into a joint, interagency and multinational exercise incorporating acquisition and support personnel.

Sponsored by the Director for Logistics, Joint Staff J-4, OCSJX-16 exercises the full spectrum of contract support from operational through tactical levels. J-4 works across numerous logistics organizations including the DOD, combatant commands and multinational and interagency partners to integrate logistics planning and execution in support of joint operations. More than 500 joint, interagency and multinational participants are taking part in the DOD-funded exercise.

OCSJX-16 endurance and leadership reaction courses

Ethic foundational to OCS

By Staff Sgt. Michelle Patten
Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016 Public Affairs Cell

FORT BLISS, Texas- “Actions speak more than words,” Brig. Gen. Michael Hoskin, commanding general of U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Commander, reminded the audience before an ethic training session for command teams at Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016.

To facilitate training on ethic this year, the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic’s senior enlisted advisor Sergeant Major David Stewart conducted seminars for both command teams and the general training audience at OCSJX.

“Though we may be different services we are all having the same conversations about how to do the same thing,” Stewart said.

Ethic and profession are complex and ambiguous topics that the seminars made understandable with exercises that tested social norms. While what is right and wrong may sometimes seem apparent it is important that all OCS professionals share the same values.

“Ethics is different for everyone,” said U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Renie Bright, commander of the 915th Contracting Support Battalion. “Everyone has their own social norms and values so we need to understand what is expected.”

With billions of dollars and the needs of the warfighter at stake, it is vital that Service members and civilians remain focused on being good stewards for the American public.

“We are the ones who spend taxpayer dollars and so it’s very important for us to be efficient and effective in our spending and to get the most for our dollar,” Bright said.

Training on ethic was one of the first academic elements presented to OCSJX participants, as it will help prepare them for the scenario execution they will be completing later in the exercise.

“I think it’s the foundation of everything we’re going to be doing here,” Bright said. “You cannot give someone a contract warrant if you’re questioning their ability to do the right thing.”

The ethic training seminar for the general participants focused on critical thinking. This training was also geared toward all OCSJX attendees instead of being career field specific.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re contracting, finance or another job, everybody here that’s participating they’re dealing with the public’s money so you have to be ethical as a person to make sure you’re [acting] in the best interests of the government,” said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Shaffer, Air Force Sustainment Center contracting officer. “It doesn’t matter what your profession is.”

Stewart remarked that the training session for command teams, the current and incoming commanders and senior enlisted of units, was important to teach how they can build the identity of their members. Also, ensuring the command teams received training demonstrated their buy-in for the priority on ethic in their organizations.

“It’s important for them to understand the concepts so they can create the right culture and climate that most people actually want to have in their organizations,” Stewart said.

Even small, incremental change can make a difference in a unit according to Stewart.

“What I hope comes from both sessions is that I have given people enough to think about that three to five people will go and make a positive change on their organization, and if I’ve done that then I’ve been successful,” Stewart said. “I think that over time if that happens then we’ll start to see change across the military.”

Stewart emphasized that anyone can and should start a conversation within their units on ethic.

“This is a leader responsibility,” Stewart said. “You can have these same conversations inside your organizations no matter how small it is or how big it is. It is all of our organizations’ responsibilities to share our values and beliefs and to help people inside our organization understand our values and beliefs the way they were intended to be done.”

OCSJX-16 is a three-week joint exercise funded by the Department of Defense and sponsored by the Director for Logistics, Joint Staff J4. The exercise focuses on supporting the warfighter and uses a U.S. Southern Command scenario of defending the Panama Canal and providing humanitarian assistance.

For more information on ethic and training resources visit CAPE’s website: http://cape.army.mil/.