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News | June 6, 2024

CRF experts deliver frontline warfighter support

By Sarah Gauvin DCMA Public Affairs

Within a global organization that manages billions of dollars in Department of Defense contracts, the Combat Support Center’s Contingency Response Force, or CRF, is often the Defense Contract Management Agency’s tip of the spear. 

“CRF is a very integral part of what DCMA does,” said Kimberly Gayton, CRF program manager. “As a combat support agency, we are a force provider hiring, training and deploying personnel to sustain DOD mission requirements.”  

CRF employees deploy to operational theaters around the world to help deliver the products and services warfighters need to fight, survive, and win. This group supports several mission requirements including contracting, quality assurance and property management.

Gayton said employees sign on for four-year terms, which feeds the CRF deployment cycle to include up to two years of home-station readiness and pre-deployment training. This is often followed by seven- to 11-month deployment assignments and redeployment education. 

During readiness preparation, trainees are assigned to a contract management office. There, they attend Defense Acquisition University courses, earning their required Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act certifications. They also execute their CMO responsibilities, complete localized training, and maintain medical and basic readiness.  

Once identified for a deployment, CRF personnel enter the pre-deployment phase. During this phase, team members complete courses specific to their deployment, attend a pre-deployment orientation to receive administrative training, and learn what to expect while deployed, said Gayton.  

DCMA conducted two pre-deployment orientation events since January. This training prepared approximately 40 CRF members to deploy to places like Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Germany and Poland. The next orientation session is scheduled to begin in August.

The final step of the pre-deployment phase is attending CONUS Replacement Center mobilization training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Here, civilians receive military-specific training on weapons, combat gear and culture. Before leaving Camp Atterbury, CRF members are issued deployment-required operational gear.  

“Once someone is trained and ready for deployment, they will typically alternate through the deployment and re-deployment phases, with about six months dwell time in between,” said Gayton. “At the end of four years, CRF employees have the opportunity to reapply to the program or to transition to a non-CRF position within DCMA.” 

DCMA has 184 dedicated CRF positions and is actively recruiting employees for 87 openings.  

“The CRF mission is a must-do, must-fund,” said Gayton. “DOD relies upon our ability to support contracting, quality assurance, property, and administrative efforts at home and overseas. So, recruitment is a priority for the agency.”

In addition to the excitement and adventure, CRF positions offer additional benefits. Gayton said employees are generally hired as GS-11s or -12s. While deployed, these personnel are temporarily promoted to GS-12 or -13 respectively, while receiving the living, medical, and ancillary benefits as the military cadre.

Gayton speaks from experience. She deployed twice during her civilian DOD career. While deployed in 2018, she was the rest and recuperation program manager for U.S. Central Command, ensuring warfighters received timely R&R during their deployments while establishing best practices to include policy and process.

“Like our service members who deploy, members of the CRF make personal sacrifices,” said Gayton. “But those sacrifices don’t compare to the personal and professional accomplishment and pride achieved when you support the DOD mission on the frontline.”  

Beyond the financial benefits, many CRF employees said the experience of seeing their work in action is the best part of their job.  

“Contract and quality assurance specialists working at DCMA headquarters or at the CMOs don’t get to see the fruits of their labor the way we do when we are deployed,” said Gayton. “There is nothing like seeing the contracts and equipment we administer saving military and civilian lives in operational theaters.”

To apply for a CRF position, visit USAJobs.  

For more information on the CRF program or to become a volunteer, visit its 365 page (login required).