BY TINA C. STILLIONS, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
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NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka personnel provided logistics and husbanding contract support to USS Sterett (DDG 104) during the ship’s visit to Zhanjiang, China, June 12-16. Senior military and government officials from both nations attended the ship’s deck reception. Pictured left to right: Lt. Cmdr. Lupei Chou, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Hong Kong director; Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Lt. Jesse Kiengsiri, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka contracting officer. –photo by Abby Huen.
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka provided logistics and contract support to the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) during a port call in Zhanjiang, China, June 12-16.
Sterett is the first U.S. Navy ship to visit China in 2017 and Zhanjiang since 2015. The event was attended by senior military and government officials from both nations and was heralded for promoting continuous cooperation, exchange and relationship-building between U.S and China naval forces.
“We began planning and preparation for this visit back in May,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lupei Chou, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Hong Kong director. “Representatives from Site Hong Kong and our contracting services team attended a pre-arrival planning conference in Zhanjiang a month prior to the actual port visit. That provided an opportunity to meet with key personnel from the People’s Liberation Army/Navy, Defense Attaché Office in Beijing, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and husbanding service providers.”
Located at the southwestern end of Guangdong province, Zhanjiang is headquarters for the South Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy. From a logistics and contracting perspective, China port visits present unique challenges. Short-notice visiting schedules often do not allow ample time for service coordination and directed source eliminates one of the key federal contracting principles: full and open competition. There are language barriers and limited port and city information, too.
“Attending the planning conference was critical for a successful China port visit,” said Chou. “It officially kick-starts the planning and coordination process and allows key personnel to meet their counterparts. It provides a forum for all parties to review, discuss and deconflict the very intense engagement schedule for these types of events.”
Site Hong Kong husbanding service contracts are in place to support a wide range of port visit related requirements, such as potable water supply, sewage removal, trash collection, communications and land transportation.
“Typically, the personnel we deal with are fluent in English and their service standards and pricing are contractually established through competition,” said Lt. Jesse Kiengsiri, a deployable contracting officer with NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka. “However, all these elements were completely different for the Zhanjiang visit, which made supporting the visit quite challenging and required close coordination between all parties involved.”
Despite the challenges, U.S. Navy ship visits to China present great opportunities at the strategic level. A successful China port visit enhances military-to-military exchange and diplomatic engagement, ultimately strengthening bilateral relations between the United States and China.
“NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka logistics support representatives and contracting officers worked closely and maintained constant communication with all the key players during and after the port visit,” said Chou. “As a result, all logistics and husbanding service contract requirements were met and Sterrett’s Zhanjiang port visit was executed successfully in all regards.”