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Field Ordering Officer and Paying Agent Handbook

Handbook 09-16
July 2009

CALL Handbook 09-16: Field Ordering Officer and Paying Agent Handbook


Chapter 9

Buying off the street during combat operations can be a hazardous business. The field ordering officer (FOO) and paying agent team must develop and implement detailed standing operating procedures to execute their functions. Fundamentals include maintaining 360-degree security, maintaining local security within 15 meters of a vehicle, completing the deal quickly, never establishing precise timelines for meetings with vendors, and using different routes when exiting the purchase sites.

Figure 9-1. Security for a FOO, paying agent, and vendors
Figure 9-1. Security for a FOO, paying agent, and vendors

Never underestimate the dangers of being a FOO or paying agent. It is likely you will travel outside secured or protected areas to make purchases. Each FOO and paying agent team must ensure it has adequate protection at all times. Many times the enemy deliberately targets a FOO and/or paying agent. Like the “wild West,” news travels very fast when someone is carrying cash. 

Things to consider for your security: 

  • Never tell the contractor or vendor your intended schedule for an onsite visit unless necessary.
  • If departing your base, treat all excursions as combat patrols. Ensure you have proper security at all times.
  • If possible, have all transactions done inside your base’s security, not only for your protection, but also for your vendors. The vendors will be less vulnerable to observation by insurgents, and you will have better means to apply sound information and operations security measures.
  • Using periods of darkness or early morning hours can also limit observation. The FOO and paying agent along with units responsible for operating entry control points must make every effort to conceal the vendors and rapidly move them inside the compound.
  • Ensure you coordinate all actions with your unit and contracting officer.
  • Prebrief and debrief your unit’s S2. A simple intelligence preparation of the battlefield will tell any FOO that insurgents need funds, and a $10,000 to $20,000 payday for the enemy will make the team a high-payoff target.
  • Maximize your time to the business effort only (no personal shopping or sightseeing).
  • Never, ever flash cash in public—take only the amount required for the purchase.
  • Fill out as much information as possible in advance on the Standard Form 44, Purchase Order-Invoice-Voucher; do not waste time filling out forms outside the protection of your base.
  • Use armed guards at the discretion of the paying agent or as required.
  • Security should be available for every mission. The paying agent's duties are to disburse funds-always have a security team.

Photo: Security for a FOO
Figure 9-2. Security for a FOO

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