BY SKY M. LARON, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
It may not be Great Lakes or Paris Island, where most Sailors and Marines are trained, but for 18 NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka contract specialists, boot camp was Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Fundamentals, a 4-week crash course in contracting, which took place from Oct. 19 to Nov. 13 in Yokosuka.
“They were pushed to the limits,” said Valdemar “Bill” Garza, Professor of Contract Management, Defense Acquisition University, one of two professors who traveled from the United States to train the personnel on-site. “It’s very challenging, it’s very demanding because there’s a quiz or exam every day and students are given homework every single night, plus there’s a quiz on what they read the next morning ...so there’s no let-up, there’s no break.”
That intensity is by design because each new recruit must know the FAR like the back of their hand in order to properly do their job and assist their customers.
“The Federal Acquisition Regulation is like the bible for federal contracting,” said Michael Johnson, Professor of Contract Management, Defense Acquisition University.
It is this federal contracting that enables U.S. Navy war ships to get the services they require while on deployment. Whether operating from an austere beachhead in Southeast Asia, making a port call in a major metropolis or patrolling the sea lanes of the vast Asia-Pacific region, 7th Fleet’s ships and crews carry out their mission with the help of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s contracting department whose men and women perform vital acquisition, contracting, and procurement duties like securing Husbanding Service Providers (HSPs).
Ship husbanding services such as food, water, sewage, electricity, phone lines and transportation, just to name a few, are provided by HSPs to U.S. Navy vessels visiting non-U.S. Navy ports.
It is the job of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka acquisition workforce personnel to provide contracting support for all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships as well as Military Sealift Command and U.S. Army vessels that are operating in the Far East, lessening the financial management burden for these ships and their crews.
Assisting ships during their deployments is only one aspect of the contracting work performed. Another large part of the contracting work lies in ship repair.
Many contracting actions must be taken in order to buy the critical parts and secure the technical labor that goes into keeping these great ships operationally ready.
So whether it’s working HSP, ship repair or any other number of acquisition required tasks, rest assured that the contracting department personnel at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka are well trained and ready.
“Our contracting team has an immense mission here at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka,” said Capt. Raymond Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, commanding officer. “I was glad to see our people receive this tough training, which is required in order to be successful.”
“It was very intense,” said Harry Wright, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka contracting specialist and class participant. “But I think everyone did a very good job.”
“They put in the hard work and it will pay off not only for this command but for our customers whose job it is to operate forward ready to fight,” Bichard added.