From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Will Always Be Jealous of One Person, or My Tribute to My Soldier

I had always thought no one could write as well as I could about my husband, no one could sing his praises louder, sweeter, or more accurately.  I was wrong, when Randy's boss nominated  him for Contracting Officer's Representative in his position with the State Department in Iraq, I lost my first place standing.  When I read the words of admiration and acknowledgment used by the very intelligent and accomplished man who wrote the story of my husband's performance with the State Department for his first six months in Iraq, I cried.  So as Memorial Day comes to a close, I am making a little tribute to my Soldier, who is the great love of my life and possesses my heart, but first.... pictures....

As bad as I hate to admit it, couldn't have said it better myself!

Randy LeCompte deserves the recognition of the Contracting Officer’s Representative of the Year award for his extraordinary and successful efforts to manage the implementation of the Department of Defense (DoD) Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) IV contract on behalf of the State Department at 11 sites throughout Iraq.  This is arguably the most complex contracting activity ever undertaken by State and involved unprecedented coordination between State and DoD.  As our “Super COR,” Randy worked tirelessly to manage the transition from expiring contracts (LOGCAP III and the separate OMNIBUS contract) to LOGCAP IV in the midst of the largest military-to-civilian transition since the Marshall Plan.  The success of this contract implementation was critical to the overall success of the transition.  It is a testament to Randy’s dedication and skill that US Mission Iraq began 2012 with the contractor KBR successfully supporting over 16,000 personnel with no major service shortfalls. 

The State Department portions of the LOGCAP IV contract has an estimated annual value of over $200 million/year, making it one of the largest dollar value contracts in the Department.   More importantly for the purposes of this nomination, it is also arguably the most complex contract any State COR has to manage, since it is an omnibus contract covering roughly 50 service areas at 11 State-Department-managed sites throughout Iraq.  The contract includes operations and maintenance at 10 sites, food preparation and storage at all 11, management of fuel supplies, water production, vehicle operation and maintenance, trucking, sanitation, laundry, and in many instances significant construction projects.  It also includes morale, welfare and recreation and mortuary affairs activities.

To add to Randy’s challenges, LOGCAP is a Department of Defense contract written to meet U.S. military requirements and incorporating standards which are in many cases inappropriate for an overseas diplomatic mission.  Randy fully engaged with senior State and Defense contracting officials in the US, Kuwait and Iraq.  Because LOGCAP is a DoD contract primarily intended to support military forces with a military budget, successful management from the State perspective often meant redefining scopes of work to functional effectively, and at less cost, for diplomatic operations. 

During the summer of 2011 Randy worked extensively on the Performance Work Statement (PWS) and all substantiating documents for LOGCAP IV.  Rock Island (RI) (Army Sustainment Command) was DoD’s contracting authority transitioning from the LOGCAP III contract to LOGCAP IV.  The contracting team in RI had to be convinced, led, and swayed to change the contract from a purely military contract (with the standards/authorities associated with it) to incorporate the requirements of diplomatic and civilian support.  Randy communicated with Rock Island via marathon telephone conferences that went well into the night and via numerous emails and had to work very closely with dozens of “local” Embassy program managers / experts such as the RSO, GSO, and FAC to make sure that all the details and support were covered.  Randy was instrumental in drafting waivers for the LOGCAP IV contracts that clearly, accurately, and concisely defined deliverables, timelines, and performance requirements. For example, he drafted and submitted food and bottled water waivers so as to promote DoS local sourcing initiatives.

As a final challenge, contract transition occurred at perhaps the worst possible time, during the crescendo of transition activities as US Forces Iraq closed dozens of bases and left Iraq, turning over many sites to State Department management.  The people we depended upon to make the State “stand up” work were often the same people frenziedly closing bases and shipping military equipment out of Iraq. 

Because LOGCAP is a DoD contract, our CORs must meet DoD training standards but our future site CORs typically had not taken the required training.  When Randy arrived, we had no organized effort to meet this challenge.  Randy fully engaged to identify requirements, work through problems with on-line DoD training materials and served as the proctor for contracting officer representative training by the Defense Acquisition University and provided direct DoD contracting oversight training to 29 different DoS contract CORs within Mission Iraq located around the country.  He traveled extensively within Iraq to personally conduct training for State CORs at individual sites.  As a result, we met the DoD standards in time to transition all sites.  Once the contract was implemented, Randy excelled at his “regular” “Super COR” management duties, including the tracking of training completed, monitoring the performance of audits completed, identifying COR replacements, and providing ongoing report to NEA and others.

Conducting the LOGCAP transition during the overall military-to-civilian transition was always going to be a major challenge.  It became far more daunting when the LOGCAP IV award went to protest, delaying site implementation indefinitely.  Randy worked extremely productively with our dozens of on-site DoD contract managers and State COR colleagues plus the incumbent contractor on plans to maintain two existing contracts until the protest was resolved.  In some cases that meant transitioning our sites from the expired OMNIBUS contract to the LOGCAP III contractor before later transitioning to LOGCAP IV.  This situation presented an enormously complex set of challenges which Randy addressed admirably.  He never hesitated to take the initiative, or to challenge DoD colleagues or our contractor when he identified areas for service improvement or cost reduction. 

Randy consistently took the initiative to preclude any contracting oversight gaps during the transition period. For example, when a management COR was not available at the Erbil Diplomatic Support Center (EDSC), he was appointed and performed the duties of the only EDSC site COR while continuing to perform his Mission Iraq duties until Management, Facility and GSO representatives arrived on site. Randy worked closely with our contracting officers in AQM to ensure that the supplies and services vital to logistics support and maintenance operations in Iraq were acquired in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Randy went much, much further and took on duties far above what we might have reasonably expected.  Randy would routinely review site construction project estimates and material requisition to avoid the unnecessary expenditure of UGG funds.  Specifically, through contracting oversight he identified $1.5 million in various charges being submitted by the contractor that thanks to his extraordinary efforts, were denied.  Additionally, he developed and presented multiple action memos to the management counselor which resulted in him taking the requisite contract actions which in the end saved the USG $16.2 million during the last 3 month period of LOGCAP III.

Having successfully represented the Embassy as “customer” during the initial hectic transition period, we then asked Randy to turn his attention to supporting the USG “Glide Path” strategy to reduce the USG footprint in Iraq by roughly 25% over the next two years.  Randy used his expertise concerning all aspects of the LOGCAP contract to prepare and document a series of recommendations to reduce LOGCAP staffing starting in 2012.  His practical recommendations are tied to the strategic reductions in the Glide Path plan, including cuts in employees, other contractor staffing, and site reductions. 

It is a reflection of our enormous confidence in Randy’s skills that we did not limit his activities to LOGCAP.  Rather, we made him the lead to manage contractor-related initiatives for the entire Glide Path project.  Randy coordinated with contracting officers and their representatives for all the major State Department contracts in Iraq, helping shape directives from the Front Office and Management to these officials as we plan to reduce services and staffing throughout the mission. 

During the past year, Randy LeCompte lived one of those rare periods of professional life where all of one’s cumulative professional experience and expertise are called upon and tested to achieve what seems to be the near-impossible. His superb performance was even more remarkable, given that he served in one of the most difficult, demanding and dangerous Foreign Service postings of all, in Baghdad, Iraq.

For his extraordinary dedication, drive and skill, Randy LeCompte richly deserves recognition as the Department of State’s Contracting Officer’s Representative of the Year.

By the way, he did win the award!