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The establishment of JCASO planners within each combatant command has elevated support, increased awareness, improved planning processes, and given credibility to OCS at the strategic level.
While JCASO has assigned two specialists at each GCC to assist in creating and exercising each Annex W, ultimately, the DoD Component and military services' contract warrant holders will be responsible for providing actual contract support, and must be included in the planning, exercise, rehearsal, and execution of the OPLAN.
However, despite the push toward better integration, including the newly formed JCASO, the DoD still lacks a manifest comprehensive planning and executing capability, as evidenced most recently in the final report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (2011).
In the short term, the authors recommend that JCASO have more status and capability within GCC and Service staffs, particularly in assisting the GCC staff to establish, monitor, and manage Annex W within the APEX framework.
They have since been converted to civil service and placed within JCASO. The planner's primary responsibility is to integrate OCS into operational plans during Phase 0.
The planners, though embedded and underthe tactical control of their respective COCOM staffs, report to one of two mission support teams (MSTs) located at JCASO HQs in Fort Belvoir.
As a result of this emphasis on contingency operations, the MST's Phase 0 COCOM engagement usually focuses on planning and participating in exercises aimed at developing trust between JCASO HQs and its COCOM counterparts while gaining proficiencies in managing and synchronizingthe OCS function in the contingency environment.
JCASO will eliminate the need for staff contracting elements at each regional command by providing a 28-member unit capable of deploying two 5-member teams.
Joint Forces Command and the Defense Contracting Agency also were considered as possible parent organizations for JCASO. DLA was chosen because it currently supports the combatant commands and geographical areas needing the services, it already has the mission of sustainment support, and it has acquisition management experience.
JCASO used its expeditionary contracting capability and the flexibility of the DLA's defense working capital fund to fill immediate contract needs until humanitarian assistance funds were made available to the Army contracting organization on the ground.
The JCASO will oversee expeditionary contracting conducted during combat, post-conflict, and contingency operations.
"In order to both train and provide that acquisition expertise, the decision was made to stand up JCASO as opposed to providing the five combatant commanders [their own] acquisition staff."
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