New Contracting Brigade Activated at Fort Shafter
Sep 2, 2009
By Betsy Weiner, United States Army, Pacific Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -With the uncasing of the unit colors, the 413th Contracting Support Brigade became an integral part of United States Army, Pacific's mission at a ceremony on historic Palm Circle Sept. 2.
Brig. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, commanding general, Expeditionary Contracting Command, presented the unit's colors to Col. Mike Hoskin, who now has the responsibility of leading the organization as it supports the warfighters on the battlefield by providing contingency contracting.
The 413th now has two subordinate offices in Hawaii and Alaska which perform installation-level contracting support. The new brigade will allow operational contracting capability for contingency contracting support for exercises or real-world situations. The Expeditionary Contracting Command has now activated six out of seven brigades, according to Nichols.
The brigade is part of the Expeditionary Contracting command, formally an all-civilian organization, which is transitioning into a military command, responsible for overseeing contracting operations throughout the world and, in this case, in the Pacific theater of operations, according to Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC). It supports the USARPAC mission, but is not part of the command.
"This is another phase in the transformation of the U.S. Army Pacific," said Mixon, "and this capability we are inheriting today is vital. Implementation and oversight of these contracts combines the expertise of a professional military and civilian work force."
Mixon emphasized that as the command looks forward and plans for contingencies in the Pacific theater of operations, "we will always need contracting capability. I view it as a combat enabler and critical to our mission success."
In 2006, the Army was beginning the transformation into a modular force, said Nichols. It also decided it needed a modular contingency contracting capability to support that force. This decision put into motion the contracting teams, aligned with contracting brigades and battalions, dedicated to the Army Service Component Command.
"We have left the back office doing the admin functions of the Army," she said, "and are now front and center, engaged early in operational planning and contributing daily to the operational success."
Hoskin said he was honored to be in command of the 413th to lead the contracting charge for the U.S. Army, Pacific and the various commands across the theater of operations.
"Warfare has changed much in the last decade," he said. "We currently have more contractors than combat Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 413th's increase to military and civilian personnel will enhance the effectiveness and support for Soldiers and their families, as well as quality of life."
He told USARPAC that the its contracting support would continue, and that the 413th contracting mission will provide the battlefield commander with organic, battlefield-focused contract planning and battlefield teams to provide a Pacific-wide contracting capability.
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