The Defense Contract Management Agency's Combat Support Requires a High State of Readiness Abroad and at Home
By The Defense Contract Management Agency's Congressional and Public Affairs Office
The strategic intent of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), "We enable the warfighter to win," requires the agency to ensure a high state of readiness for its customers through management of their relationships with defense contractors. DCMA's efforts to this end also support the security of our nation's warfighters by maintaining contractor compliance at deployment sites around the world.
DCMA most visibly supplies this combat support through its own deployable teams, known as Contingency Contract Administrative Services (CCAS) teams. Both military and civilian volunteers serve on CCAS teams, which are sent overseas to live under the same conditions as deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. CCAS teams provide contract management for customers relying on private sector contractors to fulfill demands ranging from waste management to guard services. The teams are a front-line asset with an industry perspective.
DCMA, one of seven combat support agencies within the Department of Defense (DoD), received that designation when it was established as an independent agency within the DoD on March 27. 2000. To perform critical communications, emergency planning and combat policy determination, the agency almost immediately established a Combat Support Center (CSC). Prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the CSC processed situation reports from emergencies such as the Seattle earthquake and the energy shortage in California, in which power companies promised intermittent brownouts of defense contractors. After September 11, 2001 DCMA Headquarters accelerated the role of the CSC in directing combat support policies and working with the agency's three districts, East, West and International.
"We are a command and control operation for Brigadier General Harrington, our director," said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Henry Duron, CSC director. "We disseminate information within the organization and provide information back throughout the organization and also to our external customers such as the Office of the Secretary of Defense and all of the services and combatant commanders on any issues pertinent to them on weapons system or parts of a weapons system."
Throughout the world, DCMA professionals serve as the contracting agents in defense plants for military service program managers. They ensure that contractors and suppliers deliver weapons systems, services and supplies to the armed forces at the right place and the right time for the best price. DCMA provides continuous support and improved solutions throughout the entire contract lifecycle. Even before a contract is awarded, DCMA helps military and National Aeronautics and Space Administration customers construct effective solicitations, select capable companies and write contracts with less risk. After the contract is awarded, DCMA monitors the contractors' performance through data tracking, analysis and on-site surveillance.
When DCMA customers require emergency support due to high operational demands, the CSC stands up a crisis action team, as it did after September 11, 2001. The crisis action teams examine the collateral needs of commands engaged directly in defense actions to determine the best methods to acquire the materials they need to support combat operations. The September 11, 2001 crisis action team seized the opportunity to test a lot of new procedures under fire, Duron said, and the team, composed mostly of DCMA civilians, performed beyond expectations.
"A crisis action team is a separate team of approximately six members that will help to monitor the increased high ops tempo in viewing accelerations from industry or locating secondary sourcing for any critical part or weapons system," Duron said. "Those are the things we do during crisis."
The DCMA falls under the direction of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, but in its role as a combat support agency it also falls under the supervision of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff. …