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LOGCAP 102: An Operational
Planner’s Guide

In the May–June issue of Army Logistician, I provided an overview of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) and its goals and enablers. In this article, I will discuss critical operational planning and execution processes that facilitate effective implementation of the program and present information that I believe will help bridge the information gap that exists in current operational-level LOGCAP doctrine.


It should go without saying that developing the concept of support, internal processes, and procedures for a contingency operation is an inherent responsibility of the theater or Army service component command (ASCC) planner. However, planners do not always examine carefully the implications of relying on contractors for support. Whether because of simulation training, during which controllers can use computer technology to move, or “magic,” unrealistic volumes of units and supplies to support a scenario, or a reluctance to train with warfighting scenarios that involve ambiguous contractor capabilities, the planners have often “waved the magic wand,” indicating that LOGCAP would “handle it.” In doing this, they failed to address fully the responsibilities of supported units and the intricacies involved in replacing organic military capabilities with a third-party contractor.

Preplanning for LOGCAP support begins with the theater joint planning group and, later, the ASCC or combined joint force land component commander (CJFLCC). It involves all staff elements, not just the J–4, and it is a requirements-driven process. These staff elements analyze the mission throughout all phases of the operation and identify engineering and logistics shortfalls that cannot be met with organic forces, existing contracts, or host nation assets.

According to Field Manual 100–10–2, Contracting Support on the Battlefield, the theater joint contracting cell or the Coalition Forces Land Component Command’s (CFLCC’s) principal assistant responsible for contracting (specified in the contracting support plan), determines which contracting vehicle will best mitigate the identified logistics and engineering shortfalls. His options may include contingency contracting, host nation contracts, the Army Corps of Engineers, or LOGCAP. All contract requirements, including those of the LOGCAP contract, must be approved by a combined or joint acquisition review board (C/JARB).

Although it is an Army program, LOGCAP provided support to all of the services, their coalition partners, and other Government agencies during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Because LOGCAP is so widely employed, the combatant commander (COCOM) should consider including a subannex on LOGCAP in the logistics annex to the operation plan to specify the contractor’s priority of effort so that LOGCAP services provided to other branches of the military, coalition partners, and other Government agencies do not conflict with each other. For LOGCAP, the COCOM also should allocate military force protection assets as required. Under the current contract, the military forces using LOGCAP services are required to provide force protection.

LOGCAP Funding

Commanders must provide the LOGCAP contractor with sufficient funds to begin operations. They also must monitor the execution of the contract to make sure the funding remains adequate. Authorizing funding and tracking expenditures are the supported unit’s responsibilities, not Team LOGCAP’s. [Team LOGCAP consists of the Directorate of LOGCAP Operations, the LOGCAP Support Unit (LSU), the Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO), and additional Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of the Army (DA) personnel from the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers.]

In contingency operations, LOGCAP is funded with Operations and Maintenance, Army (OMA), funds. Because of the magnitude of current LOGCAP support to U.S. forces, the Office of Management and Budget is funding LOGCAP efforts on an incremental basis. To remain in compliance with the Antideficiency Act, the Government can commit only to work for which it has obligated funds. Therefore, incremental funding at the start of a LOGCAP-supported operation restricts the contractor’s ability to mobilize personnel, equipment, and supplies and provide rapid support to warfighters. For example, if a statement of work (SOW) is funded at only 20 percent of the expected cost, the contractor can purchase only 20 percent of the necessary supplies and hire less than 20 percent of the personnel needed to execute the contract. Incremental funding limits the contractor’s ability to make economic purchases of equipment and supplies or make long-term commitments to potential contractor personnel. When the LOGCAP prime contractor is tasked by an SOW to perform a service, he generally subcontracts that service. The bottom line is that the contractor cannot subcontract or procure equipment without adequate funding. Contractors are in business to make a profit or at least break even; legally, the Government cannot ask a contractor to operate “at risk” by hiring personnel, procuring equipment, or performing services that are not funded.

An SOW that is funded to at least 50 percent of the estimated cost allows the contractor to hire and train the required personnel immediately, procure all materials and equipment, and transport them to the job site. This maximizes economies of effort and scale, so the contractor reaches full performance sooner at a lower overall cost to the Government.

Theater/ASCC LOGCAP Tasks

To standardize implementation processes in his theater of operations, the COCOM develops the theater standing operating procedure (SOP) for using LOGCAP. The SOP should—

• Determine the optimal structural framework, or architecture, for implementing LOGCAP successfully in theater and articulate the decisions to the subordinate commands. Getting this right up front sets the stage for success. (This step was skipped in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.)
• Decide if SOWs will be structured by function, location, or combined joint task force (CJTF).
• Reinforce the requirement for acquisition review boards, such as the C/JARB, facilities boards, and integrated staff fusion planning cells—especially as new operational requirements are added.
• Identify approval authorities for the SOW and rough order of magnitude (ROM); the latter is the contractor’s ceiling price for costs that he will incur while performing work on an unpriced contractual action.
• Outline processes for identifying and validating the requirements of supported units.
• Establish a budget ceiling and funding processes to track the expenditure of funds and replenish funds as required.
• Establish priorities in the operation plan and issue fragmentary orders prioritizing contractor efforts when LOGCAP supports multiple services, coalition partners, DOD, and other Federal agencies as it has done in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Based on the operation plan and fragmentary orders, DCMA administrative contracting officers will direct contractor priority of efforts.
• Establish “lanes of operation” for organic engineer units, service civil engineers (the Army Corps of Engineers), and service augmentation programs (such as the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program or LOGCAP) to reduce overlap, duplication of efforts, and competition for limited resources, all of which can increase operational costs.
• Determine the desired end state of LOGCAP support. This will facilitate a speedy transition to a theater sustainment contract with stable requirements that are managed by the CFLCC’s principal assistant responsible for contracting.
• Determine Team LOGCAP staffing levels and locations, and submit a request for forces for the LSU and DCMA elements or direct the Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Element Forward to call LSU elements forward as required.
• Establish theater criteria for requesting and using LOGCAP. Create LOGCAP services templates and determine criteria and standards of service for base camps supported by LOGCAP. Planners should answer the following questions: Who will receive LOGCAP services? Will every forward operating base receive the full menu of LOGCAP services, or will those services be available only to enduring bases with a specified population threshold? What criteria determine if LOGCAP will be used at each base camp? The services templates should be similar to U.S. Central Command’s “Sandbook” or U.S. European Command’s “Red Book,” except they should go a step further and specify LOGCAP support criteria and standards of service in order to standardize usage criteria throughout the command for all LOGCAP operations. “Mission creep” is sure to occur without such criteria. Commanders naturally want to increase the level of service and reduce the criteria for receiving support to improve the soldiers’ quality of life. This will result in contract turbulence and additional changes to the SOW, which will delay definitizing the contract and require an increase in the theater’s projected LOGCAP funding ceiling.

In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the CFLCC created its SOWs by function and the Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF–I) by combined joint task force (CJTF). The SOWs developed to support the CJTF contained better developed and more detailed standardized criteria and set standards of service support. These procedures were more efficient and better defined the central management process. Therefore, even though MNF–I supports 15 times more soldiers at more locations than any previous LOGCAP SOW, there have been fewer changes to its SOW. This may lead to definitizing the LOGCAP contract within 180 days, as required by Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR), and allow the commander to transition to a sustainment contract more rapidly.

Pre- and Postaward Tasks

The ASCC or JFLCC first must determine that a requirement to use LOGCAP exists and obtain approval to use the program from the DA G–4. Then, based on the theater LOGCAP SOP and theater contracting support plan, supported units in the communications zone, CJTF, or base camp, with assistance from the LSU, are responsible for these pre- and postaward tasks—

• Integrating the LOGCAP contractor into the planning process early to identify contractor capabilities and required lead times. However, the contractor should not be involved in determining requirements. This is a conflict of interest and is prohibited by regulation. The contractor should be involved only in identifying what it can provide and when it can provide it.
• Identifying and articulating requirements and obtaining C/JARB approval.
• Writing the SOW. LSU officers have template SOWs that are available on request.
• Preparing an independent cost estimate.
• Requesting a ROM and the contractor’s technical execution plan (TEP) through LSU and LOGCAP representatives.
• Reviewing and approving the contractor’s ROM and TEP for adequacy, completeness, and acceptability.
• Requesting a notice to proceed (NTP) through the LSU and Directorate of LOGCAP Operations from the PCO.
• Identifying, validating, and writing changes to the SOW.
• Identifying a single point of contact through which LOGCAP requirements will flow to Team LOGCAP.

Supported units in the communications zone, joint task force, or base camp, with assistance from DCMA, are responsible for these postaward tasks—

• Attending DCMA start-work meeting.
• Nominating personnel to DCMA to serve as contracting officer’s technical representatives (COTRs) to monitor local contractor execution of the contract. A COTR should be assigned at every location and function where the contract is implemented or interfaces with a military unit or other contract entity, such as a trailer transfer point, food distribution point, or dining facility. DCMA must train these personnel and formally delegate their duties. A COTR provides contractor performance data, execution status, and operational updates to both DCMA and the supported unit’s chain of command for input to the award fee board and for operational updates.
• Providing lessons learned and observations to Team LOGCAP.

LOGCAP Planning Considerations

In implementing the LOGCAP (or any contract), commanders must balance the desired requirements of quality, speed, and cost of the services provided. In contingency contracting, it is unrealistic to expect to receive more than two of these desired characteristics. In other words, if a needed service has to be good and fast, it will not be cheap. If a service is needed quickly and at a low cost, it is unlikely that it will be good. If a low-cost, quality service is sought, it is not likely to be fast. The bottom line is that preplanning is critical to receiving quality, timely services at a reasonable cost.

Backward planning should factor in the time needed for the contractor to ramp up to perform services. (Backward planning means that milestones are laid out backward beginning with the projected startup date.) Since LOGCAP is not a standby service, the contractor must open subcontracts to competitive bidding, hire and train personnel, lease or buy and transport equipment and materials into the region or theater, and transport the equipment and materials to the site once a task order is issued. Recent experience indicates that, depending on the complexity and scope of the requirement, it may take up to 180 days for the contractor to ramp up to full performance. The LOGCAP contract identifies these specific response metrics—

• Receive and support up to 1,500 personnel a day within 15 days of an NTP.
• Receive 3,000 personnel a day and bed down 25,000 within NTP+30.
• Bed down 50,000 personnel within NTP+180.

The ability of LOGCAP to reach full performance depends entirely on the full performance requirement, its complexity and scope, and the conditions under which it is executed. Until the contractor is at full performance, the military must be capable of providing services using organic assets. The contractor’s ability to reach full performance is delayed if commanders shift priorities or change requirements or if Government-provided contractor security is not available. These delays are considered to be Government delays, not contractor delays.

Although the LOGCAP contractor can use commercial resources to transport equipment and personnel to the theater and inside the communications zone, contractor onward movement and intratheater movement must be integrated into the intratheater movement plan. As they develop movement plans, commanders must provide adequate force protection for contractor-operated convoys moving forward of the communications zone. Contractors also may need to move personnel and emergency equipment throughout the battlespace on military fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. If contractor operations are vital to the commander’s support, the commander should prioritize contractor movements and allocate force protection assets for safe movement within the battlespace.

Contractors are civilians accompanying the force. The farther forward into the theater or battlespace they are employed, the more military support they require. The military must integrate contractor requirements for force protection, bed down, life support, and emergency medical support into planning and execution processes. Field Manual 3–100.21, Contractors on the Battlefield, and Army Regulation 715–9, Contractors Accompanying the Force, offer detailed information on civilians accompanying the force.

Before writing an SOW, commanders must determine what equipment the Government will furnish. Requests to transfer unit equipment to the contractor permanently must be approved by the DA G–4, and the provisions of DFAR 45 should be considered.

Transferring Government equipment to the contractor in theater saves time and accelerates contractor progress toward full performance. It also reduces contract costs and lowers the contractor award fee. However, the Army then must replace unit equipment to backfill Government-furnished equipment. This requires the Army to acquire previously unforecasted procurement funding.

Some contractor commercial equipment leases or purchases require a long lead time, regardless of where the equipment is procured. Some equipment, such as fire engines, large fleets of line-haul and fuel trucks, or rough-terrain cargo handlers, requires up to a year for delivery. Indeed, such vehicles simply may not be available through commercial sources to meet short military timelines.

Individual force protection equipment for contractor operations, such as integrated body armor and ballistic head protection specific to the operation, also may not be available in sufficient commercial quantities. If the Government does not provide this equipment and commercial assets are not available, this shortage may limit the contractor’s ability to mobilize rapidly and execute operations forward of the communications zone.

Converting Requirements to Contract Language

Although identifying and planning for requirements are critical, translating those requirements and articulating them clearly in an SOW are equally important. Supported units are responsible for writing the SOW, but too few logistics planners have the background or training to do the job. What is doctrine or intuitive to a military unit must be articulated in an SOW so that a civilian contractor can execute the contract. LSU personnel can assist the supported unit with this task.

The first step in writing an SOW is to conduct a mission analysis. After support requirements are identified, the mission analysis and concept of support should specify critical performance factors and performance metrics and identify other military units or existing contracts that must interface with the contractor in order to perform the mission. This analysis should attempt not only to envision the requirement as it currently exists but also to forecast what the requirements will be for the service in a year or at a specified end state. Such forecasting eliminates the need to change SOW requirements every 2 weeks in order to accommodate new requirements that were not anticipated. With fewer changes, the PCO can definitize the contingency contract sooner. As a result, transition to a theater sustainment contract may be quicker.

The mission analysis and concept of LOGCAP support should be integrated into the logistics annex to the operation plan. Validated changes in requirements should be sent to supported units on fragmentary orders. A copy of the concept of support also should be forwarded to Team LOGCAP. The concept of support informs the current and future DCMA representatives of the commander’s intent to assist them in interpreting the contract and should be archived as a part of the contract audit trail.

An SOW should contain performance-based language, not requirements-based language. Performance-based contract language takes into account the knowledge base and experience of the contractor. It assumes that the contractor understands how to do a certain task and that Army regulations, command SOPs, and other guidance provide sufficient details about the requirements. Performance-based language gives the contractor flexibility to determine the best and least expensive way to execute the mission. The SOW is easier to write using performance-based language, and this expedites contract implementation.

According to the November 2003 LSU Liaison Guide—

LSU officers have a database of SOW templates and can advise the commander on translating the requirements and articulating them in an SOW.

The PCO also requires the supported COCOM, CFLCC, JTF, or division to submit an Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) with the SOW before requesting the contractor’s ROM. The IGCE details the supported unit’s estimate of the costs the contractor is expected to incur while performing the work. The PCO uses the IGCE to determine a reasonable cost for the products and services required by the supported unit. It is not a legally binding document, but it is proprietary and may not be released to the contractor.

The Government uses the contractor’s ROM to determine the amount of money that will be set aside in the budget for use against the SOW and the portion that will be provided to the contractor on a Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request for startup. Like the IGCE, the ROM is proprietary to the LOGCAP contractor and the Government and is not releasable to outside parties.

The supported unit is responsible for reviewing the ROM for completeness and acceptability. When the ROM is deemed acceptable, the designated authority forwards a letter of acceptance through the LSU and the Directorate of LOGCAP Operations to the PCO. The PCO issues an NTP after the command accepts the ROM and funds the contract.

The process for approving LOGCAP requirements and changing or updating SOWs in theater is complex, necessarily bureaucratic, and time consuming. Planners should ensure they allow enough time for processing requirements and legal reviews in their backward planning timeline.

The U.S. military is relying increasingly on contractors who operate in the battlespace. Operational planners must update their processes to reflect this reality. All staff elements, not just the logisticians, must integrate contracting considerations and ramifications into their planning processes.

LOGCAP is a force multiplier whose capabilities are maximized when operational planners conduct integrated staff preoperational planning, establish theater SOPs and criteria for requesting and using LOGCAP, create templates for LOGCAP services, and determine criteria and standards of service for base camps supported by LOGCAP. It is essential that commanders ensure that supported units are involved in evaluation and execution of LOGCAP operations in their areas of operations.

Colonel Karen E. LeDoux is a student at the Army War College. She was the Commander of the LOGCAP Support Unit (Forward) in the Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Element (AMC LSE) Forward-Southwest Asia with the Coalition Forces Land Component Command and the AMC LSE Iraq supporting Combined Joint Task Force 7. She is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army Logistics Management College’s Associate Logistics Executive Development Course, Joint Course on Logistics, and Multinational Logistics Course.

The author would like to thank Major Jeanine Cunliffe, S–2/3 of the LOGCAP Support Unit and LOGCAP Support Officer in the Multinational Division-Central South, and Major Karl “Rudy” Schelly, LOGCAP Operations Officer in Combined Joint Task Force 7, for their advice and assistance in the preparation of this article.