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LOGCAP Demystified: A Primer on LOGCAP Services

The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) touches almost every aspect of life on a forward operating base (FOB) during a deployment. A LOGCAP contractor runs everything from the dining facility to the gym, and a great deal of money can be involved. For example, according to a 2007 press release, DynCorp International, one of three current contractors under LOGCAP, revealed that it expected to generate annual gross revenues of $5 billion from the LOGCAP contract for southern Afghanistan.

Despite the importance of LOGCAP for sustainment and the great sums of money involved, surprisingly few publications address LOGCAP. In fact, the only official publication specifically devoted to LOGCAP is Army Regulation 700–137, Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which has not been modified since it was originally published in 1985.

Although a tactical unit may incorporate some form of LOGCAP training before it deploys, few units know how to effectively employ LOGCAP. As a result, most units treat LOGCAP like a "magic box" and throw their hands up in frustration when it fails to deliver as expected.

This article is written for those who need to tinker with the "magic box" in order to change the output. It will explain the nine key steps required to start or modify a LOGCAP service and will offer several techniques for streamlining the process.

Why Tinker With LOGCAP?
Tactical units have three predominant reasons to tinker with LOGCAP. The first is the need to start a new service. Perhaps the unit is establishing a new FOB or a FOB is increasing in size and now needs a service it previously did not use.

The second reason is the need to modify a service. For example, a FOB has a bus service that runs 12 hours a day and the unit wants it to run for 24 hours instead.

The third reason to peer into the magic box is because of dissatisfaction with the quality of service provided by the LOGCAP contractor. This article will only address the first two reasons: starting and modifying LOGCAP services.

Step 1: Determine Type of Action Required
The first step in starting or modifying a LOGCAP contract is determining the type of action required. The action will be executed through either a letter of technical direction (LOTD) or a change order.

The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) administers the LOGCAP contract. Given the size and scope of this contract, it would be impossible for one person at DCMA to effectively manage LOGCAP and approve the many changes required on a daily basis on numerous FOBs. Therefore, DCMA assigns a primary contracting officer as the overall lead contracting officer for LOGCAP, supplemented with many administrative contracting officers (ACOs).

An ACO is responsible for one or more FOBs. Only the ACO has the authority to direct the actions of the LOGCAP contractor. The ACO can direct the contractor through either an LOTD or a change order.

LOTD. An LOTD is used for minor changes that do not require any additional outlay of funds. For example, an LOTD should be used if the commanding general were to decide fish and chips should be served every Friday in the dining facility (DFAC) in lieu of steak. Since the LOGCAP contractor has already been funded to provide meals, changing the meal from steak to fish will not cause the contractor to incur additional expenses. The ACO could implement the new policy with an LOTD.

Case study: As a result of logistics changes in the theater of operations, the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) at FOB Leatherneck required the LOGCAP contractor to run a class IV (construction and barriers materials) yard. The contractor had not previously provided this service and would require additional funding and several months leadtime to begin executing.

Realizing that only a portion of the class IV yard needed to start running immediately, the 68th CSSB support operations officer spoke with the LOGCAP contractor and discovered that four people could be reassigned immediately without degrading contract performance in other areas. Four people would be sufficient for an initial operating capability.

However, the LOGCAP contractor could not move any personnel without being directed to do so by the ACO. The CSSB support operations officer worked with the LOGCAP support officer (LSO) to prepare the required unit-level document. Within days, the ACO gave the contractor an LOTD formally directing the contractor to provide limited class IV service.

A trash-burning incinerator is installed at Forward Operating Base Warhorse, Iraq, through a LOGCAP contract.

Change order. In contrast to an LOTD, a change order is required when additional expenses will be incurred. In the DFAC example, the commanding general could issue orders for the DFAC to remain open 24 hours a day. To implement this modification, the contractor would need to purchase additional food and hire additional personnel. As a result, the contractor would incur a new expense that would be charged to the Army. To ensure that the Army understood and agreed to the increased charges, the contractor would not proceed without a change order. The change order is the formal notification to the contractor to proceed.

Usually, the need for an LOTD or a change order is obvious. As the case study shows, working with the contractor and DCMA will often reveal the quickest and most viable way to achieve results.

Step 2: Prepare Required Documents
The ACO will not issue an LOTD or change order without supporting documentation provided by the unit. Samples of all required documents can be obtained from the LSO.

LOGCAP checklist. The purpose of the LOGCAP checklist is to make sure that neither military manpower nor local contractors can support the requirement. Both of these options must be considered before requesting LOGCAP services. The LOGCAP checklist is not complete without two key signatures: one from the FOB mayor (indicating that military manpower is unavailable) and one from the commander of the regional contracting command (indicating that local contractors cannot support the request). The LOGCAP checklist is not required for an LOTD.

Letter of justification (LOJ). The unit must also prepare an LOJ signed by the unit commander that explains why the unit requires a service.

Work statement. Finally, the unit will need a work statement. ["Work statement" is the term that has replaced the term "statement of work" in the Federal Acquisition Regulation.] The work statement should clearly specify what tasks the LOGCAP contractor must perform.

The work statement for a LOGCAP project should not be confused with the LOGCAP performance work statement (PWS). The LOGCAP PWS applies theater-wide. It is very broad and intentionally vague. Therefore, each project requires a work statement that is tailored to that particular project. Although specific to a project, the work statement cannot dictate to the contractor the equipment and personnel that he must use. In other words, the work statement should indicate what must be done, not how to do it.

In addition to the work statement, early direct communication with the contractor who actually manages the service being changed is recommended. The manager is a different person than the estimator who prepares the contractor's estimate. The manager is the person on the ground who runs the service. Contacting the manager early in the process limits the potential disparity between the unit's intent and the final contractor estimate. This manager is the person who will likely determine the resources needed to fulfill the requirements in the work statement. After getting the manager's input, the estimator puts a dollar value to the resource requirements.

If the manager misinterprets the work statement or the work statement is unclear, the estimate of the resources required will be incorrect. Communicating early and often with the service manager prevents this problem. For example, if you want the DFAC to operate 24 hours a day, you should discuss this requirement with the DFAC manager. This person will be able to tell you the resources he believes are needed to satisfy the requirement.

This conversation with the service manager is where you will discover any disparity between what the contractor believes is the intent as conveyed in the work statement and the actual intent of the unit. Just as important, the service manager may have ideas based on experience about how to achieve the desired effect more rapidly or in a more cost-effective manner. Most of the contractors involved in LOGCAP are former military (usually retired senior noncommissioned officers and warrant officers). Taking advantage of their expertise can pay huge dividends.

The Center for Army Lessons Learned Handbook 09–48, Developing a Performance Work Statement in a Deployed Environment, may be of some help in developing a work statement. However, the importance of making sure the contractor understands the unit's requirements through face-to-face interaction cannot be overemphasized. Relying solely on the work statement is not ideal.

Step 3: Prepare a Project Planning Request
Once the LOGCAP checklist, work statement, and LOJ are complete, these documents must be taken to the LSO. The LSO should review the documents to ensure that the paperwork is filled out correctly. After his review, the LSO will take these documents to the ACO, who will prepare a project planning request (PPR). The PPR is the formal request to the contractor to provide an estimate for the service requested in the work statement. Since only the ACO has the legal authority to direct the contractor to do anything, including providing an estimate, both the ACO and the LSO will sign the PPR and send it to the LOGCAP contractor.

The PPR can generally be prepared within 2 to 3 days. If you have not heard back from your LSO within 3 days of submitting the required documents, check on the PPR status. It may be a cliché, but it is helpful to keep in mind that the "squeaky wheel gets the oil." Once the PPR is prepared, keep a hard copy for your records and an electronic copy to distribute to others as required. Remember that without a PPR, no project will be planned. This is why it is important to get a copy of the PPR.

Step 4: Prepare a Project Planning Estimate
Once the PPR is complete, the contractor will normally have 3 to 4 weeks to complete the project planning estimate (PPE). The date that the estimate is due back to the ACO is included in the PPR; however, the contractor can request extensions if necessary. After the contractor receives the PPR, he will assign it to one of his estimators to prepare the estimate.

The estimator normally will go to the manager in charge of the service that is being modified and ask what additional resources are needed to satisfy the work statement. From this input, the estimator will estimate the cost of providing the required resources. For example, if you want bus service 24 hours a day instead of a 12-hour service, the estimator will talk to the bus manager and ask how many additional personnel and how much additional equipment would be required to satisfy the request. The estimator has tables and charts that estimate costs based on the required number and types of personnel and equipment.

Being proactive by discussing the need with the manager before the estimator talks to the manager can save time by ensuring that the military unit and the unit's service manager share the same understanding of the intent. Ideally, the unit should designate a subject-matter expert (SME) who has sufficient knowledge and expertise to work with the service manager. The SME should be someone with a stake in the expected outcome. Normally, the SME will already have a working relationship with the manager.

The unit SME and the service manager should come to a shared understanding of the additional resources required. This will save time. For example, if the unit wants additional bus service, it will prepare a packet with a work statement that reads, "Require bus service able to support 1,000 personnel and operate 24 hours per day." Your SME then goes to the bus manager and informs him that, in reality, only during meal times will he need to surge bus capacity to 1,000 personnel; otherwise, the current service is adequate. Based on this input, the bus manager thinks an additional three buses and six personnel will meet the need. Your SME agrees with this assessment.

With this understanding, when the estimator shows up, the bus manager will not overestimate or underestimate required resources because the work statement did not fully explain every aspect of the requirement. (Although the work statement should explain every aspect of the requirement, quite often it does not.) If your SME and the service manager have already worked out the required resources before the estimator arrives, the PPE is more likely to be satisfactory.

After talking with the manager, the estimator will prepare an estimate of costs: the PPE. Once the PPE due date has passed, contact your LSO to find out the status and get both a hard copy and an electronic copy of the PPE. Unlike the PPR, however, the PPE is proprietary information and cannot be shared with any commercial entity under the terms of the Procurement Integrity Act.

Step 5: Conduct Technical Evaluation
Once the PPE is complete, the ACO schedules a technical evaluation (TE). The TE team should include the ACO, the LSO, the estimator, your unit SME, your unit LOGCAP management officer, and the contractor's service manager. The purpose of the TE is to ensure that the estimate prepared by the contractor is sufficient to fulfill the needs identified by the unit. Having the unit SME and the service manager talk beforehand pays dividends during the TE because it significantly increases the probability that the contractor's estimate is satisfactory to meet the unit's requirement.

Any issues that anyone has with the estimate are discussed during the TE. If the estimate is deemed insufficient by the unit or the ACO, the contractor has to provide a new estimate. This is an iterative process that repeats until everyone is satisfied. It is important to note that the contractor may take several weeks to revise the estimate after each TE. It can be extremely frustrating for a unit to identify a relatively minor change during the TE and then wait several weeks for an updated PPE.

TEs are sometimes conducted without the unit present or without the service manager present. However, it is imperative that both the unit and the service manager attend the TE. The unit must be proactive in ensuring that it is present at the TE. Having the unit and the service manager at the TE minimizes friction. If a problem is identified during the TE, all the key players are present to agree on the fix.

After the final TE, when all parties are satisfied, the unit signs off on the technical evaluation and obtains funding for the project.

Step 6: Obtain Funding
The unit obtains funding for a project through the Joint Acquisition Review Board process. Obtaining funding is a separate, detailed process that can take from 2 weeks to 3 months.

Step 7: Issue Change Order
Once the unit obtains funding for the project, the ACO will issue a change order. The change order is the legal document directing the contractor to provide the service as agreed upon in the TE. Without a change order or LOTD, the contractor is not obligated to take any action. In fact, the contractor incurs risk by acting without a change order because it is possibile that the Army will not approve funding for the project.

Step 8: Execute Service
Once the contractor has a change order or LOTD, execution begins. In the case of an LOTD, execution is simply reassigning resources already on hand. In contrast to an LOTD, executing a change order will usually take 90 to 120 days. First, the contractor must advertise the job. It can take from 30 to 90 days just to fill the job. Once the job is filled, mobilizing the new employee will take several weeks. Finally, when the new employee arrives in country, additional time for inprocessing is required. The time requirement is similar for equipment that is shipped to theater by sea from the United States.

Step 9: Monitor Contract Execution
It is important to monitor the LOGCAP contractor once the service has been implemented. The unit should assign a contracting officer's representative who will be responsible for monitoring the new service. The contracting officer's representative will report any issues with contract performance to DCMA. Only DCMA can formally address performance issues with the contractor.

The LOGCAP process is poorly understood by many military units. Yet, LOGCAP has a direct bearing on a unit's success because of the life-support services it provides. The LOGCAP contractor on a FOB runs everything from the DFAC to the laundry point and from the billeting office to the gym. Without a thorough understanding of LOGCAP and the process for starting or modifying a service, a unit puts itself at a distinct disadvantage in taking care of its Soldiers. Armed with the knowledge of how to establish and modify a contract, any unit can more effectively tinker with the LOGCAP magic box.

Major Malcolm G. Haynes is attending the School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was the contract management officer for the 43d Sustainment Brigade in Afghanistan. He holds a B.S. degree in computer science from the United States Military Academy and an M.S. degree in business supply chain management from the University of Kansas. He is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic Course, the Infantry Captains Career Course, Airborne School, and Ranger School.


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