The Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) mission is to conduct operations in the Combined Joint Operations Area to protect U.S. and coalition interests, dissuade conflict, enhance partner nation capacity, and promote regional security and stability.
Contracting Qualified Navy Reserve officers have served as both the Chief of Contracts and contingency contracting officers at CJTF-HOA for more than eight years. CJTF-HOA is the home to the Navy’s only Contingency Contracting Office (CCO) and a joint team of military and civilian contracting professionals makes up the staff.
In March 2013, the Reserve Component began planning the transition of major command billets from active to reserve. Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich and Rear Adm. Allie Coetzee both selected Capt. Michael Curran (NR NAVSUP HQ) to lead the joint team of Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) military and civilian contracting officers supporting CJTF-HOA operations throughout East Africa. Capt. Curran and his team have met the unique challenges of providing contracting and logistical support throughout the region.
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BU3 Joshua Schaff, Naval Mobile Construction Batallion Four, project safety supervisor, constructs a wall within a maternity ward his unit is building in Kontali, Dijibouti
The team at CCO HOA provides contracting support to CTJF-HOA and subordinate units throughout East Africa. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, the office made nearly $9 million in awards with more than 400 contract actions. Over the past FY, the office completed an extensive contractor outreach program to more than 600 contractors in four countries. The office also served as the Navy’s only pilot site for the Air Force’s contingency contract writing system, OContrax, and provided valuable insight for the incorporating of the system in future operations.
The web-based nature of OContrax provides greater capability for contingency contracting officers operating in more austere environments. Finally, the CCO leads the way in the use of the three-in-one device for Field Ordering officers, which replaces the use of the paper SF-44 forms. These impressive accomplishments came at a time of increased operational demand and refocus of the CJTF-HOA mission. This support has been vital in providing supplies and services to maritime security operations combating the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the coast of East Africa, while providing regional stability and partnerships with various African countries.
This plays a crucial role for all U.S. forces participating in regional military exercises and providing the strategic presence in Africa. These contingency contracts for services and supplies also directly support the strategic partnership with coalition forces -- Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen -- whose historical presence has had a significant influence in the region as well.
The CCO awards supplies and service contracts under the contingency simplified acquisition threshold of $1 million in support of CJTF-HOA missions. Requirements beyond that dollar limit are coordinated with Fleet Logistics Centers (FLC) Sigonella and Norfolk, depending on the complexity and location of vendors. Many of the contracts awarded by the CCO support everyday needs for CJTF-HOA missions down-range such as driver services, communications, construction materials. The CCO also provides for a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) services to supplement personnel recovery capabilities at CJTF-HOA. The CCO also coordinates requirements with Department of State and U.S. AID for support of Humanitarian Assistance projects in East Africa. This has been a great benefit to the host nation population and participating African nations in providing medical, sanitation, and infrastructure support to promote higher living standards.
In 2013, CJTF-HOA had 14 major projects underway and proposed providing for rural healthcare and schools in Djibouti. CJTF-HOA had chosen to spend 50 percent of total humanitarian assistance funds and effort in Djibouti alone because of the location of Camp Lemonnier and the ability to conduct operations from the base. Efforts paid off and continue to pay off with continued and improved access from Camp Lemonnier for flights and for projects in rural areas of Djibouti near border provinces with Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Projects are proposed and approved by the Minister of Health for clinics and Minister of Education for schools; thereby giving CJTF-HOA high level government access. CJTF-HOA has provided the means where the Government of Djibouti is meeting its goal to provide 90 percent of its population access to healthcare and education facilities. The projects are cooperative in nature, and provide the initial infrastructure and the Government of Djibouti funds the sustainment portion with trained personnel to man the facilities and budgets for operating and maintenance costs.
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Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, work on a maternity ward in Kontali, Djibouti, March 11, 2013. The Seabees are building the maternity ward along with seven other buildings to complete the project in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's mission to help strengthen institutional capabilities in East Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Caleb Pierce)
CJTF-HOA’s CCO has also been active in promoting the local economy by reaching out and educating contractors in East Africa. The CCO recently held a vendor day in Djibouti City, and the event was widely covered by local media and attracted more than 200 contractor representatives from throughout the region. The CCO awarded more than $1.5 million in contracts for supplies and services to improve Chebelley airfield near Djibouti City. The improved airfield is crucial to CJTF-HOA Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operations. Additionally, the CCO has awarded contracts in support of Information Operations missions to directly combat the spread to Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs) in Somalia. These contracts are the first of its kind as part of the many creative approaches designed to inform and disseminate information aiming to counter the recruitment of these extremist groups.
The CCO is constantly moving forward to improve its contracting operations. The CCO is also exploring the feasibility of using Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF) for contractor payments. Successful implementation of WAWF would greatly reduce the current time contractors have to wait for invoice payments. Additionally, CJTF-HOA’s contingency contracting office maintains a comprehensive training program from within to ensure that each contracting officer is up to date on current NAVSUP contracting rules and regulations. Capt. Curran said of his team, “They are a highly flexible and operationally focused group of contracting professionals who pride themselves in keeping ahead of customer requirements. I am extremely proud of their professionalism and accomplishments.”
By Capt. Mike Curran, Chief of Contracts, and Lt. Cmdr. Mike Lee
CJTF-HOA, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti