ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. –
Within three days of notification, a Logistics Civil Augmentation Program lead team was in Puerto Rico following the worst recorded hurricane to hit the Caribbean island.
Also known as LOGCAP, it supported U.S. Army North in what was dubbed the “Hurricane Maria Relief Efforts.”
The damage there has been estimated at $102 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Aon Benfield, a world-leading reinsurance intermediary and full-service capital adviser headquartered in London.
Hurricane Maria hit the unincorporated U.S. territory of 3.4 million people as a Category 4 storm Sept. 20, 2017, causing catastrophic damage to infrastructure and the environment including mountains, waterfalls and the El Yunque tropical rainforest.
U.S. Army North, a joint force land component command responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, requested LOGCAP provide base camps within seven days of arrival and full operational capabilities within 10 days, explained Garry Carter, LOGCAP director, Policy and Programs, Acquisition Integration and Management Center, Army Sustainment Command.
LOGCAP is administered by the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, headquartered at Rock Island, Ill. ASC’s mission is to integrate and synchronize the delivery of logistical capabilities and enablers at the operational and tactical points of need around the world.
LOGCAP is the U.S. Army’s premier capability to support global contingencies. This is achieved by leveraging corporate assets to augment current and programmed sustainment force structure.
In this relief effort, LOGCAP deployed, constructed and provided turnkey base camps and services to support Title 10, Title 32, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and were first responders in Puerto Rico from the U.S.
Title 10 outlines the role of active-duty armed forces in the U.S. Code. It provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the Department of Defense. Title 32 outlines the role of the National Guard.
Camp services include billeting, food service, shower/latrine facilities, water, power generation and self-service laundry capabilities.
“We also provided support to the EMEDS hospital constructed as part of the camp providing patient food, medical laundry, fuel and water to sustain the hospital and billeted a 137-person Air Force medical unit,” Carter said. “The EMED provided medical care to the local populations while hospitals were undergoing repairs.”
EMEDS is the Expeditionary Medical Support System – a modular field hospital system developed by the U.S. military for mobile deployment of medical treatment facilities in any location.
Carter and many other people were already in various stages of planning support to hurricane-stricken areas in Texas and Florida from the ravaging effects and destruction of Harvey and Irma in late-August and mid-September respectively.
And then Maria struck – everything changed. On Oct. 8, Carter’s initial team arrived in the capital city of San Juan.
“We were within hours of being requested to proceed with base camp construction when Hurricane Irma developed in the Atlantic and efforts were shifted to providing base camps in Florida or further up the East Coast,” Carter said.
“The LOGCAP contractor, in coordination with the Project Management Office, provided plans to provide and construct two base camps to support Title 10 and first responders when Hurricane Maria emerged and planning shifted to U.S. Northern Command to support planning for LOGCAP provided base camps at various geographical locations prior to Hurricane Maria making landfall,” he said.
LOGCAP had previously worked with Air Force and Navy planners at NORTHCOM to develop LOGCAP capabilities to be delivered on short notice, Carter said. Command support execution was then rapidly shifted to Army North to meet the new demands that were approved and funded Oct. 4.
NORTHCOM, a unified combatant command of the U.S. military is tasked with providing military support for civil authorities in the U.S. and with protecting territorial and national interests within the contiguous U.S., Alaska, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, and the air, land and sea approaches to these areas.
“What impressed me the most about LOGCAP in support of the hurricane relief operations in Puerto Rico was its responsiveness and flexibility to establish fully operational base camps in such a short period of time,” said Col. Rick Pierce, assistant chief of staff, G4 (Logistics), Army North.
“The timeframe from the ‘Notice to Proceed’ to an initial operating capability providing billeting, latrines, and showers for 1,000 personnel was nine days; considering LOGCAP transported all of the equipment and personnel from the continental United States, this was an exceptional accomplishment,” Pierce said.
The Army Contracting Command-Rock Island issued a “Notice To Proceed” to LOGCAP IV performance contractor DynCorp International on Oct. 4 and the contractor’s first shipment of base camp equipment landed Puerto Rico three days later with contractor personnel. ASC’s LOGCAP Project Management Office deployed Carter the same day that contractor equipment arrived in Puerto Rico.
The team then began installation of base camp equipment the following day at Aguadilla Airfield.
The performance contractor was DynCorp International, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is contracted to support all LOGCAP requirements in the NORTHCOM area of responsibility.
“It was clear to most of us almost immediately following the Notice To Proceed that LOGCAP had set conditions to succeed; LOGCAP clearly met all expectations for the mission requirements and from understanding the menu of options available, demonstrated only a fraction of their capability,” Pierce said.
This initial team included Carter and two LOGCAP support contractor employees; two individuals from the 404th Army Field Support Brigade, or AFSB, Soldiers from the LOGCAP Support Brigade; and seven civilian Logistics Support Officers from ASC’s LOGCAP Support Brigade.
ASC’s Logistics Readiness Center, located at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, in conjunction with the 407th AFSB, also provided support. DynCorp deployed a seven-person team along with nearly 100 subcontractor personnel to construct and operate the base camps.
ACC also rapidly deployed a Contingency Contracting Administration Services contracting officer, Maj. Kenneth Bulthuis, to administer the terms of the contract. Bulthuis had previously served with Carter in Africa supporting the LOGCAP Ebola humanitarian mission in 2014.
Eventually, LOGCAP provided a base camp to support 1,000 personnel at Aguadilla, and another base camp to support 1,500 personnel at Roosevelt Roads.
“Infrastructure damage across the entire island of Puerto Rico to include seaports, roads, electrical grid, water production and communication assets inhibited required logistics,” Carter said. DynCorp provided all logistical movement of equipment and personnel utilizing commercial air, sea and land transportation assets allowing military strategic airlift to be dedicated to direct support to hurricane relief efforts.
“The local population was directly impacted for an extended period while waiting for the restoration of basic living and working conditions. Operational airports and seaports also were congested and presented significant challenges to move personnel, materials and equipment to meet the need,” Carter said.
Normally, LOGCAP capabilities for base camps in general are for 90 days in support of Federal Emergency Management Agency mission assignments.
DynCorp announced in a press release March 1, however, that its contract was extended to continue supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding support material management and logistics services. The extension is valued at up to $22.1 million and is part of LOGCAP.
Under this task order, the organization will have team members provide daily warehouse operational support that enables USACE electrical contractors to receive government-provided materials to rebuild the electric power grid in Puerto Rico, the release stated.
A significant portion of LOGCAP’s mission was to provide material management of the laydown yard and material warehouse at a seaport of debarkation where all electrical material was shipped to Puerto Rico. This mission was estimated to take up to five months requiring LOGCAP support.
“LOGCAP is a logistics multiplier that provides a responsive and flexible capability to support the Joint Force when deployed into an austere or severely degraded environment,” Pierce said.
“LOGCAP support allows the joint force to travel lighter and respond faster to any contingency operation; once established, LOGCAP provides the joint force a hot meal, a shower, and a place to briefly rest in order to rejoin the mission fully charged and provide the best possible long-term mission support for a multitude of operations to include hurricane relief.”