DJIBOUTI – Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa contingency contracting officers, 726th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, are supporting a recent initiative to extend its vendor base and spread economic opportunities to the people of Djibouti with the placement of a contracting bulletin board at a community gathering point, Dec. 6, 2016, near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
Contributing back to the local Djiboutian community is important to the Department of Defense. With 2014 congressional legislation, “Djibouti First,” qualified businesses in Djibouti can be given contractual preference for projects on Camp Lemonnier and the surrounding area.
“I think the tool will be a tremendous step in the right direction, as there is no longer a barrier between us and numerous other vendors looking for opportunities to work with the Government,” said Master Sgt. Marico Gray, 726 EABS contingency contracting officer. “It's twofold: we are fulfilling mission requirements by getting our guys the support they need, but we are also building relationships with the people in Djibouti, and putting money back in the local economy.”
In a world of cyber communication, Gray spoke to the benefit of reverting back to basics and generating more face-to-face communication with the implementation of a public bulletin board.
“We wanted to change the way we were doing business and really push the envelope and get the word out about our office's contracting opportunities on Camp,” said Gray.
Having a physical point of reference for any and all Djiboutians gives the contracting office a constant source of communication with the community. This is valuable to the contracting office to keep consistent and constant communication during the high turnover rate of Airmen.
Don Buchannan, Contract Manager for NALCO Construction & Logistics, spoke of the difficulties that arise when relationships are forged in the community and then the contacts involved rotate out of country. He thinks this will help tremendously by giving vendors a dedicated way to talk to the contracting office regardless of assigned personnel.
"It is very good, it gives us a way to know what the Air Force is looking for so we can start building up to provide it for them,” said Abdoulkader Moktar, Commercial Manager for Brico7. “When we know what they are in need of then we can be better prepared to provide it to them. I think this should have been done a long time ago."
Gray said the Contracting Office will start posting information today and will continue to provide updates by Wednesday each week.