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CCO Photo (Top to bottom, left to right):
Capt. Jill McQuistan, Somalia Contracting Officer; 1st Lt. Christopher Fitzwater, Ethiopia Contracting Officer; Sgt. 1st Class Rickie Spivey, Kenya Contracting Officer; Lt. Col. Eugene Poindexter, Djibouti Contracting Officer; Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Bachman, Djibouti Contracting Officer; 1st Lt. Samuel Williams, Uganda/Tanzania Contracting Officer; Capt. Will Clarke, Director;
Staff Sgt. Sandra Jean-Louis, Kenya Contracting Officer; Sean Lenz, Djibouti Contracting Officer; James Van Sickler, 3in1 Tool Coordinator; Cmdr. Steven Gover, Deputy Director; Staff Sgt. Juan Rendon, Ethiopia Contracting Officer; Cmdr. Rufus Cayetano, Kenya Contracting Officer. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pearce)
Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) conducts military operations, activities, and exercises to defeat violent extremist organizations and transnational threats, and to strengthen the operational and institutional capabilities of East African partner nation militaries to promote security and stability within each country’s borders and throughout the region.
The Contingency Contracting Office (CCO) supports and sustains CJTF-HOA operations through awarding contingency contracts proactively, timely and effectively. During the past few months -- and in the months ahead as evidenced by the results of an inspection and innovative initiatives -- CCO is succeeding in its quest to be a top tier contingency contracting operation, setting the Department of Defense (DoD) standard for how contingency contracting should be performed.
The CJTF-HOA, CCO is the only wartime deployed contracting office in the Navy, and in many areas is a pioneer in Contingency Contracting. The Director of Contracts, Capt. Will Clarke, is responsible for the over-all operations and success of the office. The Director of Contracts motto, “Work in Parallel,” gives the CCO team flexibility in working contracts to accomplish the mission in a timely manner. The Deputy Director, Cmdr. Steve Gover’s “One Team, One Fight” and the Senior Enlisted Leader, Sgt. 1st
Class Rickie Spivey’s “Strive for perfection” attitude, allows the office to work as a team in a joint environment.
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Warrant Qualification (left to right) Lt. Col. Eugene Poindexter, Djibouti Contracting Officer; Staff Sgt. Sandra Jean-Louis, Kenya Contracting Officer; and Staff Sgt. Juan Rendon, Ethiopia Contracting Officer. (Photo by Capt. Jill McQuistan)
The CCO team is the first to implement the 3 in 1 tool, which is managed by Jim Van Sickler, and is used as an ordering, receiving and payment voucher for the Field Ordering Officer program. The CCO will be the first in the Navy to pilot and implement the O-Contrax contract writing system. This is a deployable version of the Procurement Defense Desktop, which is currently used to write contracts. In addition, the CCO is looking to be the first in DoD to pilot and implement the Government Pay Portal, an initiative to develop and a platform for processing, monitoring, and paying invoices in expeditionary and contingency environments. The Government Pay Portal will increase both visibility, audit ability, and will reduce payment delays and errors.
CCO conducted Vendor Engagement Days in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya during the last week of January. The orchestrator of these events was Kenya Contracting officer, Cmdr. Rufus Cayetano. Many vendors in the Area of Responsibility (AOR)
are not well versed in contracting, and lack fundamental knowledge of how to conduct business with the U.S. Government.
The Vendor engagement addressed these issues by providing a comprehensive overview of procedures serving to educate and expand the vendor base, with the desired outcome of increasing competition and industrial capacity, leading to reduced prices for goods and services. We also provided database registration training (companies must be registered in the System for Award Management, to be eligible for U.S. Government contracts), and we collected information to vet the vendors through the intelligence community.
These successful events, coordinated with the U.S. Embassy and the Kenyan Chamber of Commerce, attracted about 200 vendors. These events received special recognition from Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, Commanding General, CJTF-HOA. Future engagements will be Kampala, Uganda in March, Addis Ababa Ethiopia in April, and Djibouti this summer.
The CCO earned favorable ratings in the annual Procurement Performance Management Assessment Program (PPMAP) this past December. An inspection team from Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) conducted a PPMAP review of the CJTF-HOA, CCO this past December. The team determined that CCO is performing in a highly effective manner, and the highlighted best practices were the Dashboard Metrics that the CCO uses. This was an initiative from the Director of Contracts, who upon the start of his tenure put this into action. This function ensures that all key events related to the operations of the contracting office are tracked and monitored on a weekly basis. Other highlighted best practices were the CCO training initiatives, specifically, the indoctrination program and warranting procedures. These initiatives improve the knowledge and expertise of Contingency Contracting Officers assigned to the CCO.
The indoctrination program is lead by Air Force 1st
Lt. Samuel Williams. The Contracting Officer provides training to new arrivals within two workdays. The training consists of CJTF-HOA mission, CCO overview, Camp Lemonier welcome brief, pertinent campaign plan briefs, country specific briefs and local policies and procedures.
Warrant Qualification Program
To assist in improving the level of workforce knowledge, due to the constant personnel churn, the Director of Contracts developed and implemented a warrant qualification process by implementing Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS). Air Force 1st
Lt. Christopher Fitzwater was instrumental in creating this program. This warrant program includes 31 contracting specific topics, including pre-award tasks, contract award tasks, closeout tasks, BPA call tasks, Field Ordering Officer tasks, and other required local policy directed tasks.
A final written exam and a final practical application exam are also included in the PQS. The PQS is an intensive program and the first of its kind for contingency contracting. To lead the way in a joint environment, the Navy has welcomed the Army to be pioneers in the program. Army Lt. Col. Eugene Poindexter, Staff Sgt. Juan Rendon and Staff Sgt. Sandra Jean-Louis are the first to be warranted contracting officers under the new PQS. The next on schedule to receive their Warrants under the new PQS are Sean Lenz from the Army Corps of Engineers, and Marine Corps Capt. Jill McQuistan. A noteworthy mentor for Contract Specialists going through the warranting process is Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Bachman.
The CCO continues to excel with their performance management and their joint relationships, and have demonstrated a consistent “One Team, One Fight” attitude.
By Capt. Jill McQuistan, U.S. Marine Corps, CJTF-HOA
Somalia Contingency Contracting Officer
Contingency Contracting Office Public Affairs Officer