District Leverages Contracting Expertise throughout the Middle East

Middle East District Public Affairs
Published Jan. 14, 2019
District Leverages Contracting Expertise throughout the Middle East

A contractor works on a generator for the Afghan National Army in the Logar Province in Afghanistan. The maintenance is conducted as part of a services contract executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District. Because of its long history in the region, the district have become experts at executing services contracts in countries throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Through its over 60 years of existence, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) has honed its ability to deliver large scale construction projects in some of the toughest construction environments in the world. It has also led the district to develop a unique set of capabilities it’s been able to utilize beyond construction projects to its U.S. and allied partner nations throughout the Middle East.     

One such skillset is providing services contract expertise to support U.S. and allied nation partners around the Middle East.

A services contract is defined as a contract that directly engages the time and effort of a contractor whose primary purpose is to perform an identifiable task rather than to furnish an end item of supply.

Holly Watson, a contracting section chief with TAM, said there are numerous services contracts that the District is able to provide.

“We take great pride in the products we can offer our customers,” said Watson, “everything from design and master planning of military bases down to basic maintenance and janitorial services contracts.”

Watson noted that services contracts often go hand in hand with a construction contract.

“We may construct a building at a customer’s request and we may also have an operations and maintenance contract to ensure TAM’s customers receive the true cradle to grave services we’re able to offer,” said Watson.

As Lou Martinez, a TAM supervisory program manager explains it, the district’s ability to execute services contracts was born out of necessity but over time became an additional service it was able to offer to other agencies.

 “Our expertise in Services contracts basically developed over time as a byproduct of our normal construction work,” said Martinez. “As we were sending people and equipment overseas to support our projects, we gained logistics expertise in things such as freight forwarding, transportation, maintenance and other services that would normally be done by other agencies or base support in the U.S. Once you gain that experience it becomes easy to branch out and assist customers with other services they might need to procure.

“Typically USACE districts aren't structured with logistical specialists who understand freight forwarding, transportation services, housekeeping and base services, and operations and maintenance services as this is done by installations and contracting organizations in the U.S. under commands other than USACE. We had to grow this capability in-house to better serve our customers and, when necessary, support the USACE overseas construction mission.”

Watson stated that another way location factored into the district’s development of this important capability was because of the need to ensure TAM was able to provide the quality products it promised customers.

“Because we work in some pretty austere and sometimes dangerous locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we aren’t always able to have someone from the district on the ground making sure the customer gets what they were promised,” she said. “We rely on contracted quality assurance services making sure our stakeholders get the quality they expect. “

Lisa Billman, Chief of TAM Contracting noted that while expertise in services contracts are not unique to TAM within USACE, she’s proud of the expertise they offer.

“We are not by any means the only ones in USACE who can do this but I do think it’s a niche we are able to fill because of our unique experience and when it comes to the ability to get these done in an international environment, and in the areas U.S. Central Command operates, I would say we’re second to none.”