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News | Dec. 11, 2018

ACO uses unique skillset, supports humanitarian mission during recent deployment

By Liz Feliciano-Hernandez DCMA Baltimore

Army Maj. Lisbon Williams managed more than $360 million dollars in a variety of contracts during his recent deployment to Kuwait. 

Williams, who is a Defense Contract Management Agency Baltimore administrative contracting officer, returned home in October from a six-month deployment to Kuwait where he served as the chief of the Operational Contract Support Integration Cell for the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve. During his deployment, he managed a $360 million portfolio for OSCIC and provided support to more than 2,500 special operations force service members across a five-country combined joint area of operations. 

As part of his job duties, Williams traveled to Iraq and other countries, visiting major logistical nodes and outstations in order to align support with SOJTF-OIR’s customers, established working relationships, and improved customer requirements. 

“One of our major functions in the OCSIC was assisting customers with their requirements definition,” said Williams. “We would spend a great deal of time assisting customers with generating detailed specifications in their performance work statements and statements of work in order to ensure their needs were effectively communicated to the contractor. Several of our outstations were renewing their contracts for material handling equipment.

“Material handling equipment contracts allow each location the ability to provide internal sustainment, airfield maintenance and offload aircraft. When the contracts were awarded, several pieces of equipment met the specifications in the statement of work, but were completely inadequate. For instance, a 10-ton crane with air conditioning was requested. Therefore, the contractor provided a 10-ton crane and somehow rigged a standard household air conditioning window unit to operate off of the battery. This was a prime example of why detailed specifications were so important to include when generating a requirement.”

Williams said his group managed predominately service contracts, which supported 22 remote special operations firebases throughout the region. The majority of the contracts were for basic life support items and services, construction, material handling equipment, non-tactical vehicles and information technology.

In addition to his direct troop support, Williams oversaw the execution of Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid projects, serving as a liaison between SOJTF-OIR and the 408th Contracting Support Brigade. His challenge during these projects was to identify the most feasible methods of procurement in a war-ravaged environment. Ultimately, he played a pivotal role in providing humanitarian support to the people of Northwest Syria.

“My cell worked in conjunction with Army Civil Affairs, U.S. Central Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense in order to validate requirements for these projects,” said Williams. “Many of the projects involved purchasing school supplies, school construction, establishment of power generation and water purification. Once validated, my cell would coordinate with the contracting officers throughout the combat theater and devise an acquisition strategy for rapid procurement.”

Williams said the deployment allowed him an opportunity to gain valuable contracting experience.

“This deployment offered me a great opportunity to be on the customer side of acquisition,” Williams stated. “As contracting professionals, we oftentimes lack a full understanding of the operating environment of our customers. My service as the OCSIC chief allowed me the opportunity to actually be the customer, be integrated with the actual end users, and gain a full appreciation of the importance of contracting support in an intense combat theater.” 

Navy Capt. Lorenzo Williams, DCMA Baltimore’s commander, said Williams represented the agency well during his deployment. 

“Maj. Williams’ superior skills and accomplishments during his deployment made a lasting and positive impact on OCSIC’s major customers across Iraq and Syria,” he said. “In addition to celebrating his return home, we also would like to congratulate him on his selection to lieutenant colonel. Well done, Maj. Williams. Welcome home and congratulations on your selection to the next rank.”