According to the United States Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM), over 6000 US military personnel — alongside six naval vessels and 20 aircraft — are currently deployed to Haiti in support of the humanitarian relief effort to more than three million Haitians affected by the January 12th earthquake.

Increasingly, the US military finds itself in this position.  Because of its unrivaled ability to project and sustain large-scale operations over extended distances, the DOD is often called upon to support humanitarian assistance and recovery operations abroad—like those currently underway in Haiti, and now, Chile.  And increasingly, DOD is confronted with the problem of finding effective and feasible contingency logistics strategies.  In other words, finding fast, effective ways to supply our military personnel with the equipment and resources they need to carry out their missions.

In order to effectively manage its growing humanitarian commitments abroad, the DOD is looking towards IT-based solutions to facilitate its contingency contract process.  In the 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review, the DOD states that current supply-chain management processes inadequately address its responsibilities abroad.

“The conventional acquisition process is too long and too cumbersome . . . the Department [of Defense] must improve how it matches [logistical] requirements with mature technologies and maintain disciplined engineering approaches [to] institutionalize rapid acquisitions capabilities.” –Page xiv, 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review (Department of Defense).

Partnet is busy developing new IT-based solutions that will achieve this “rapid acquisition capability” the DOD is rightfully pursuing.  Among these innovations is an automated, contingency contract and planning tool that could be leveraged to enhance and support existing DOD logistical investments.  The goal is to create an integrated system capable of implementing contingency contracts with global vendors—as well as local suppliers—that quickly locates and sources mission-critical supplies in support of military contingency operations, including humanitarian and disaster relief.

Rapid acquisition capabilities could be further extended in support of domestic disaster relief—allowing agencies like FEMA and the Red Cross to better manage contingencies closer to home.

Partnet compliments the DOD for recognizing the need for enhanced contingency contracting, as well as its foresight in pursuing new, IT-based solutions to confront logistical hurdles in a shifting operational landscape.