The Chairman has a vision for our future warfighting capability -- the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations: Joint Force 2020. According to the Capstone Concept, Joint Force elements, postured globally, combine quickly with each other and mission partners to pool capabilities fluidly across all boundaries. Three logistics imperatives enable this concept: a Global Distribution Network able to deploy, position, and sustain the Joint Force anywhere in the world; Global Logistics Readiness Awareness through an accurate, real-time, and predictive assessment system; and Responsive Logistics Planning Capabilities that fully incorporate logistics considerations into all phases of operations.
We can achieve his vision and these imperatives within current fiscal constraints through careful planning, knowledge sharing, and by pursuing innovative ways to harness partner and contracted support. Operational Contract Support (OCS) is one of seven Joint logistics capabilities and a keystone in achieving these imperatives. Use of contractors in military operations has existed since before the Revolutionary War (Figure 1). Over the last few years, DoD has continued to refine a doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) structured framework to support and guide the future of OCS.
Multiple factors drove this framework including Congressional interest, the Commission on Wartime Contracting , various GAO reports on contracts and management of contractors, and the Joint warfighter desire to better employ contractors and enable our future Joint Force capabilities. To understand the impact of Operational Contact Support (OCS) on the Joint Force 2020, it is necessary to understand what OCS is, how OCS has developed, and who has OCS equities.
What is OCS?
While each of the services must perform in accordance with their Title X authorities for service specific missions, they must also be able to operate in a Joint environment. In the Joint environment, OCS specific tasks fall into three primary areas: Contract Support Integration; Contracting; and Contractor Management.
Contractor Support Integration includes the coordination, synchronization, and planning for the use of contracted support in a designated operational area by the Joint force. It is the least developed of the three areas, but offers the greatest opportunity for gains in readiness and savings through the optimization use of scarce resources.
Contracting is the coordination of contingency contracts and the execution of contracting authority to legally bind non-DoD resources in support of DoD operational requirements. This area is the most well developed and is what most people think of when they hear the term OCS.
Contractor management is the oversight and integration of contractor personnel and associated equipment providing support to the Joint Force in a designated operational area. The Joint requirement for coordinated management of contractors on the battlefield was critical to the development of OCS.
How was OCS Developed?
While OCS started out as accounting for contractors on the battlefield, it quickly became obvious that OCS had a much broader scope than initially envisioned. In 2003, the initial lessons from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) gave impetus to the development of a comprehensive DoD policy for managing contractors who support contingency operations. In October 2005, the combined efforts of Joint Staff J4, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense of Program Support (DASD PS), and Office of Secretary of Defense for Defense Procurement Acquisition Policy (OSD DPAP) led to the development of DODI 3020.41, “Contractor Personnel Authorized to Accompany the U.S. Armed Forces.”
DODI 3020.41 was the first of many major DOTMLPF-P initiatives designed to institutionalize OCS as an emerging Joint Capability Area (JCA) within DoD. These efforts also included the establishment of the Operational Contract Support and Services Division in Joint Staff J-4 and the publication of Joint Publication 4-10, Operational Contract Support on Oct. 17, 2008. An updated JP 4-10 is in final review and scheduled for publication in spring 2014.
In an effort to address further gaps in OCS, comply with Secretary of Defense Guidance for Deployment of the Force (FY2010-2015), and comply with Congressional mandates in National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2007 and 2008, DoD established the Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office (JACSO). JCASO’s primary mission is to provide, upon request, the Combatant Commander with an enabling capability for OCS management and coordination during all phases of operations in both peacetime and contingency operations (Figure 3).
Joint Staff J4, with policy guidance from DASD PS and OSD DPAP and with Joint warfighter requirements from Combatant Commands and Combat Support Agencies, continues to develop the OCS capability. Most recently the OCS Joint Concept was approved in October 2013. It details how OCS, matured through several DOTMLPF-P initiatives, will enable Joint Force 2020. These initiatives will build on existing efforts better plan, use, and account for the use of contractors.
Who has equity?
The last decade has taught us that contractors can fill gaps in many areas including in our logistics force structure. Contracted support when used appropriately, with clear requirements and adequate supervision, offers a timely, efficient, effective capability, which in many instances is a force multiplier. OCS can provide needed capabilities like logistic services, base operations support, communications, security, equipment maintenance, construction, intelligence services, translation services, and transportation without the cost of maintaining permanent force structure. The key to optimizing contracted support is planning among all staff (Figure 4).
We must plan for contracted support to the same degree that we plan for the use of military capabilities in an operation. We must plan for the contractual obligations contractors will assume, how they will deploy and redeploy, what services we will provide for them, the requirements they will fulfill for us, and how we will account for and protect them. To reach maturity in OCS planning, we must include the OCS framework in military training and education, teach commanders and their staffs about OCS, and ensure Joint doctrine reflects OCS equities. Successful planning for OCS involves the entire staff and will be critical to enabling Joint Force 2020.
IMPACT on Joint Force 2020
The OCS solution framework, when fully implemented, will promote a cultural shift in how DoD plans for use of contractors and also will provide a robust, ready capability that supports the Chairman’s vision for JF 2020. In Chairman Dempsey’s “Capstone Concept for Joint Operations: Joint Force 2020,” he states that 80% of our Joint Force for 2020 is already programmed, and that current and future budget pressures will force the DoD to be innovative. Many of these important advancements will come through innovations in training, education, personnel management, and leadership development. Joint Staff J4, in coordination with OSD, combat support agencies, services and Combatant Commands have already started implementing many efforts designed to institutionalize and operationalize OCS throughout DoD.
Some examples of training and education include the recently developed Joint OCS Planning and Execution Course and the development of the OCS Curriculum Development Guide to help steer Joint Professional Military Education course matter. Additionally, the Chairman’s Joint Training Guidance for 2014-2017 directs that OCS be fully incorporated into all Joint training and exercises . The first ever OCS Joint exercise occurred January 2014 and involved more than 500 participants from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, U.S. Northern Command, the Air Force, the Army, the Defense Contracting Management Agency, the Defense Logistics Agency, and U.S. Army (North). The exercise focused on training Joint Force leaders on OCS and demonstrating the strategic and operational enabling capabilities of OCS in a complex catastrophe scenario. Planning for the 2015 OCS Joint exercise in the PACOM area of operations is just beginning and could provide an excellent opportunity for the Navy (NAVFAC, Expeditionary) to further develop and exercise OCS capabilities.
As we continue to incorporate OCS into training, exercises, and educational curriculum, we will simultaneously broaden leaders’ understanding of the potential OCS mission impact and improve overall OCS readiness. While no one knows precisely what the resource-constrained environment of the future holds, by planning and preparing for the use of contractors, DoD will be able to achieve maximum readiness and flexibility for JF 2020.
By Cmdr. Tony Yanero, Branch Chief, Operational Contract Support & Services Division, the Joint Staff, J4