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Defense Agency's Contracting Strategies Offer Tailored, Flexible Solutions

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Acquisition professionals at the Defense Logistics Agency are turning to captains of industry/supplier capabilities contracts, also known as COI/SCC, to offer tailored solutions for customers who need 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.

Two service members walk around a large helicopter.
Chopper Inspection
Maintainers and the flight crew of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, assigned to 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, conduct a pre-flight inspection as part of the Joint Force Land Component Command in support of exercise Arctic Edge 18, March 12, 2018. DLA's strategic contracting capabilities offer the Army the ability to combine support for new spare blades and repairable blades for the Chinook on one DLA contract.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez
VIRIN: 180312-F-AF679-1070C

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. This will also help the Army manage its cash flow. 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 J. Sanford, DLA Aviation's 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."

A tank rolls down a dirt road.
On Patrol
Soldiers assigned to Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment conduct patrols in an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during Combined Resolve XV at the Hohenfels Training Area in Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 26, 2021. The Army is also using a DLA captains of industry/supplier capabilities contract to improve parts support for Bradley fighting vehicles, increasing the supply availability rate.
Photo By: Army Cpl. Shawn Pierce
VIRIN: 210226-A-YD090-1003

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 days 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. 

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 with supplies that are managed by the Defense Department.  

DLA Aviation is also using COI/SCCs to create organic capabilities for additive manufacturing.

A service member directs a plane on a runway.
F-16 Guidance
A crew chief with the 148th Fighter Wing guides an F-16 Fighting Falcon after a flight commemorating the 30th year that the wing has used the F-16. DLA Aviation signed a contract in March 2020 to construct and evaluate a part for a sump pump cover supporting the Fighting Falcon using additive manufacturing processes.
Photo By: Audra Flanagan, Air National Guard
VIRIN: 200310-Z-BQ052-004A

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 in Oklahoma City. An additional contract was awarded Aug. 30 for additive manufacturing at Robins Air Force Base.

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. As a result, some military customers have already purchased 3D printers and additional engineering support, she added.

Christopher Davis, DLA Aviation's strategic acquisition and programs director, 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.

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