Contracting Center helps build a better Afghanistan

Story by Rachel Clark
409th Contracting Support Brigade

SALERNO, Afghanistan ─ Working in a combat zone, such as Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, presents various challenges in the integral world of expeditionary contracting.  Even with those challenges one contracting office continues to work toward improving relations with the local population in Afghanistan.

Maj. David Troutman, an operations officer for the 903rd Contingency Contracting Battalion in Kaiserslautern, Germany, is the current Salerno Regional Contracting Center chief on the ground in to Afghanistan. He and his team of Army and Air Force service members, contractors and Afghan local nationals support contracting actions for Task Force Duke, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.  

Working under the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Contracting guidance from General David H. Petraeus, the current Commander, International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, Troutman and his team of professionals support contracting actions for Task Force Duke, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

Troutman’s Team has been instrumental in providing the best contracting service possible to more than 40 forward operating bases and combat outposts in TF Duke’s area of operation. The RCC also coordinates with various units in their AO regarding contracting intelligence, plans and operations and the development of new partnerships. One specific effort of the RCC is the execution of regular training sessions with local vendors to help develop and improve local businesses.

These monthly sessions help set up a dialogue to improve future business relations. More specifically, RCC has teamed with the Air Force’s Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron on sharing lessons learned throughout the region as well as provide hands on training in the area of construction.

“The RCC strives to hold training sessions with groups of 10 or less to foster more interaction and ensure the contractors feel comfortable asking questions,” said Troutman. “The training helps promote that one on one mentoring.”

The session focus is on construction and contract administration.  The RCC is able to learn the various problems contractors are having with the contracts and statements of work in addition to sharing issues they have seen on various projects.

The sessions are an integral piece to help build the infrastructure and ensure an economically viable future for Afghanistan. “Our contracting has improved the lives of many Afghans, enhanced infrastructure, delivered essential services, supported local businesses, increased employment, and fostered economic development,” according to Petraeus in his COIN Contracting Guidance. In 2010, the Salerno contracting office wrote contracts for more than $80 million dollars.