In contingency operations, U.S. Air Force contingency contracting officers (CCOs) play a vital role in the procurement of goods and services within the theater of operations. The motivation for this study was twofold: The contracting community lacked a comprehensive database of contingency purchases that would enable analyses of purchases related to mission activities, and such analyses would prove important in future decisionmaking. This study examines contingency purchases for Operation Iraqi Freedom made in theater during fiscal years 2003 and 2004 and develops a custom database to determine the extent of contractor support and how plans for the organization and execution of contingency activities might be improved to better support the warfighter in future operations. The baseline analysis details the relevant purchasing organizations, the types of goods and services purchased, the timing and methods of purchase, and the important suppliers. Two case studies related to specific purchases and the demands on CCOs show that a contingency contracting database can be a powerful and useful analytic tool. Recommendations are made for the establishment of a standardized methodology (including specific data fields) for collecting contingency contracting data on an ongoing basis to facilitate planning and policy decisions associated with CCO staffing and training, combat support planning, and sharing of lessons within the theater for future contingencies.
The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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