In response to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s (NECC) demands for flexible procurement methods, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka launched the field ordering officer (FOO) pilot program.
The six-month pilot program was launched on March 31, 2021 and is expected to better support NECC as it operates in austere locations in the Indo-Pacific region, such as East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Tinian.
“NECC has unique readiness and logistics requirements in their never-ending challenge of serving the 21,000 expeditionary forces deployed all over the world,” said Capt. Robert Mazzarella, NECC senior supply officer. “The expeditionary combat forces are often tasked with deploying to unique places on the globe that do not accept credit cards or they are in situations where the local economy has no electricity. Couple that scenario with the crucial need for a mission essential item and you have a potential problem. Our job is to be one-step ahead of these situations.”
NECC is responsible for organizing, manning, training, equipping and sustaining the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force (NECF). NECF Sailors support an integrated U.S. naval force and reinforce blue-water lethality while serving as members of Maritime Expeditionary Security Force, the Naval Construction Force, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage units; and as part of expeditionary units that provide unique intelligence and logistics capabilities.
Supplies needed for NECC to perform missions in these locations are office supplies, fuel, cooking utensils and building materials. Typically these items are procured via government purchase card (GPC), requiring a contract to obtain and a military or other contracted source to deliver. In certain scenarios, the GPC may not be available, causing excessive delays for timely procurement of critical supplies and services.
Part of the FOO pilot program includes a procedure in which NECC could immediately purchase materials from a local source using cash, allowing NECC missions to continue with minimal disruption.
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka offers products and services to units which operate in an area that’s 14 times the geographic size of the United States. The FOO pilot program will assist in overcoming the logistical challenges associated with such a vast area of responsibility.
The FOO pilot program was jointly developed between NECC, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and NAVSUP headquarters located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to build audit and oversight capabilities into the pilot program combined with standard operating procedures to ensure a successful execution.
“The subject matter experts from NECC, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and NAVSUP headquarters has been the right blend of talent and experience providing a great foundation of oversight, capability, training and the team cohesion that is unparalleled,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Carroll, NAVSUP operational contract support officer. “The benefits of having a FOO program as a capability will enable NECC Sailors to procure products and supplies anywhere in the world with minimal lead times.”
Audit and oversight procedures allow for NECC’s appointed FOO to make purchases only when an appointed paying agent is present. FOOs and paying agents will maintain comprehensive documentation of their purchases. The goal is for FOOs to provide their commands with the ability to make quick over-the-counter local purchases to fulfil mission essential requirements for supplies or services.
“Our procurement performance measurement and assessment program (PPMAP) division will be conducting regular audits of this pilot program,” said Wendy Arsenault, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka PPMAP division director. “Some of these audits will include a random sampling of documents and will ensure that records are compliant with the standard operating procedures outlined in this program.”
“The standard operating procedures provide the framework for the FOO pilot program, while NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provides independent oversight through their PPMAP division and NECC provides programmatic oversight,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erik Rupp, a Navy Reservist brought in to support the FOO pilot program launch. “It also outlines authorities, policy, conduct, training requirements, concepts and prohibited purchases.”
The first audit of the FOO pilot program is scheduled to be performed in June 2021, examining the period between March 31, 2021 and May 31, 2021. Audits will be conducted every two months.
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.
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