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News | Oct. 2, 2014

Contracting officer ensures requirements for missile defense camp are right

By Michael Tuttle DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

The initial customer requirements for materials to build a camp in Romania were vague and incomplete, said a contracting officer with Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Europe and Africa.

Sara Fetterolf worked with the Navy construction builders, or Seabees, to better define the requirements for lumber, plywood, plumbing and more, to build a security forces camp supporting the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site.

“Getting the requirement right at the beginning of the process makes it less painful at the end,” Fetterolf said.

The Aegis ballistic missile defense has historically been a ship-based system, using radar to identify approaching targets and knocking them out of the sky with interceptor missiles, according to a Department of Defense news release.

The new, land-based Aegis Ashore is being deployed to Romania to deter ballistic missile threats to allies and partner nations in southern Europe.

The Seabees were to construct the temporary living facilities using materials provided through the Construction and Equipment supply chain’s Maintenance, Repair and Operations program.

But before the materials could be delivered, Fetterfolf and the Seabees went through each requirement with a fine-tooth comb.

“We went line item by line item ... to exactly describe the material we needed,” said one of the project planners, Navy Lt. Nigel Morrissey, 22nd Naval Construction Regiment Detachment Europe.

It’s important to ensure any vendor, in any location, could understand exactly what materials were needed, he said.

It was especially important since U.S. standard specification terms for construction materials are not universal. And all the materials except the plywood and lumber were procured locally, including: insulation, electrical, plumbing, septic tank, supply lines, water storage tank and a pump skid, Fetterolf said.

The final requirements included detailed, universal descriptions and photos of the more complex items, so that any vendor looking at the solicitation could understand them, Morrissey said.

As a result of their efforts to get the initial requirements right, a construction handbook was developed for all material solicitations for projects in Europe and Africa, which included templates Fetterolf created.

“Material procurements have been drastically improved with far less material rejection upon delivery,” Morrissey said.

The camp was completed on time Sept. 15. The Aegis Ashore is expected to be operational by late 2015, according to a Missile Defense Agency official.