RICHMOND, Va. –
Acquisition professionals at the Defense Logistics Agency are turning to Captains of Industry/Supplier Capabilities Contracts to offer tailored solutions for multiple customers needing weapons system parts and engineering and support services.
Part of DLA’s effort to create flexible acquisition strategies, COI/SCCs are umbrella contracts that incorporate multiple funding lines and contract types. The structure provides overarching terms and conditions that can be adjusted to fit individual requirements and can accommodate performance-based logistics, supplier-initiated ordering, direct-delivery and other acquisition models. Using a COI/SCC typically speeds acquisition processes since service- or customer-specific add-ons become part of an already existing framework.
COI/SCCs were a natural response to the Army’s recent request that DLA help streamline support for Chinook helicopter blades, said George Scheers, director of procurement operations for DLA Aviation in Huntsville, Alabama.
After DLA and Army collaboration, the service will move from its current performance-based logistics contract to a COI/SCC model that Scheers said will allow it to better manage the number and types of blades it receives and when, thereby helping the Army also manage its cashflow. DLA expects to award the new contract in 2023.
“We are excited to partner with the Army to improve sustainment support to a key combat platform,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford, DLA Aviation commander. “I think this is a great example of the agency and service working together.”
The Army is also using a COI/SCC to improve support for Bradley fighting vehicles.
“This was the first major effort by DLA Aviation at Huntsville to include both new spare parts and depot-level reparables under a single contract,” Scheers said. “The results have been outstanding.”
Consolidating Bradley support saved $14 million on the first $50 million delivery order and increased the supply availability rate to 96.7%. In the past three fiscal years, Scheers’ team has facilitated 426 unique purchase request awards under existing COI/SCCs that would’ve otherwise required new contracting vehicles and taken up to 180 days of administrative lead time instead of 55 for each award.
A detachment of DLA Land and Maritime in Aberdeen, Maryland, is seven years into a 10-year, $8 billion COI/SCC that continues attracting new customers. Almost 20 projects are lined up for fiscal 2022 and 2023, including a $2.3 billion Patriot, an all-altitude, all-weather air defense system, project for engineering services and a project to establish organic repair capability at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, for Strike Eagle radars, said Lindsey Schuman, a DLA Land and Maritime contracting officer in Aberdeen.
Use of the same contract by DLA Aviation to support Patriot missiles has increased on-time-delivery rates to 98% or higher, which means consistently high readiness, Scheers added.
COI/SCCs sometimes take years to develop. Although the Air Force’s newest refueling tanker, Pegasus, was delivered to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, in January 2019, DLA Aviation officials reached out to program office representatives in 2014 to start crafting a long-term sustainment strategy supporting DLA-managed consumables and Air Force-managed depot-level reparables. Contracting support for the Pegasus is challenging because it’s the first Federal Aviation Administration certified aircraft for which supplies are managed by the Defense Department.
DLA Aviation is also using COI/SCCs to create organic capabilities for additive manufacturing.
In March 2020, it awarded a proof-of-process contract under an existing COI/SCC to certify a part for a sump pump cover used on certain jet engines. The project’s success led to follow-on contract phases that will help the Air Force develop additive manufacturing capability at a lab at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City. An additional contract was awarded Aug. 30 for additive manufacturing at Robins AFB.
The contracts leverage the broad terms already in place in an existing CIO/SCC and allow the agency to better support specific service needs, said Janelle Allen, chief of DLA Aviation’s Strategic Contracting Division I. Some military customers have already purchased 3D printers and additional engineering support as a result, she added.
DLA Aviation Strategic Acquisition and Programs Director Christopher Davis added that COI/SCCs showcase DLA’s ability to collaborate with industry and the services.
“In having the ability to leverage the capabilities of the suppliers while aggregating the requirements and funding for spares, repairs, consumables and other services, DLA is aligning itself to the needs of all the services,” Davis said.
It also improves agility in today’s ever-changing environment, he added.
Editor’s Note: Cathy Hopkins and Beth Reece contributed to this story.