By Michael Toler, US Army Retired :

ABSTRACT: This historical example of how mission command philosophy was applied in Operation Restore Hope by one member of the Army Acquisition Corps is written to illustrate the principles of mission command in action.

Colonel Michael Toler was charged with the responsibility to form, for the first time, an expeditionary joint theater contracting command and deploy it to the area of operations to support Operation Restore Hope. Joint Task Force Somalia (later designated UNITAF Restore Hope Somalia), was a 38,000 person US and allied task force led by the United States, under authority of UN Security Council Resolution 794, a UN Charter Chapter VII peace enforcement and humanitarian mission to Somalia, Africa. This paper is based on historical records and the personal diary of the author. As one reads the story, think about how the six doctrinal principles of Mission Command were applied in the absence of any existing doctrine or any standing deployable contracting organization.
Build cohesive teams through mutual trust
Create shared understanding
Provide clear commander’s intent
Exercise disciplined initiative
Use mission orders
Accept prudent risk

On Friday evening December 4, 1992, I was in my Philadelphia office in the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Defense Contract Management Command (now a separate agency), gathering and packing my personal and professional papers. I was preparing to depart for my new assignment as Chief of Defense Cooperation, US Embassy, Germany. My plans suddenly changed, when I received a telephone call from Mr. George Dausman, Principle Deputy for Procurement to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (ASA (ATL)).

He told me of my selection to be the United States Executive Agent for Contracting for Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. I was expected to form and lead a joint contracting command; deploy it to the Area of Operations; and support the US led United Nations coalition forces with all needed contracted support. Mr. Dausman said that the President was announcing the mission on national television and the office of the ASA (ALT) would provide me with whatever authority or assistance I may need.

Based upon my understanding of U.S. contracting law, I asked Mr. Dausman how was I to have the authority and control over all US contracting, since contracting authority flowed through each Department Secretary and the Commander of the Special Operations Command? How quickly did I need to form the command and be in Somalia? He gave me the following guidance: “I do not know how you will do it; that is why I have picked you for this mission".

"You are to command all U.S. contracting activities in support of the operation, get control of requirements so that they [other commands] do not compete with each other for the same resources, and you are to form and deploy a joint contracting command to support the entire contingency operation as quickly as you can get there – they want you there Monday.” Understanding his command intent and the urgency of the operation, I acknowledged his order and asked for the following actions to support my mission: “Sir, I need broad general orders that reflect my authority, authorize travel, and an unlimited warrant as a contracting officer; a place I can get some desert uniforms, field gear, weapon, and body armor; and for the Secretary of Defense to formally designate the mission as a contingency operation".

He told me his staff would work on my requests to provide whatever assistance I needed – and ended the conversation with, “Good luck!”

About 2 minutes after I got off the line with Mr. Dausman, a colonel from the Total Army Personnel Command called me. He told me I was being activated off the alternate command list and that his office would be issuing orders for my overseas assignment, authorizing personal travel with weapons, attaching me to HQ US Central Command (CENTCOM), and to HQ First Marine Expeditionary Force (IMEF).

COL. Knight also told me his office would be supporting the formation of my command with Army personnel, once tasked by CENTCOM per my instructions. Understanding that there was almost no likelihood of the small under developed country of Somalia, torn by civil war and famine, having any construction or logistics capabilities to support a major U.S. forces deployment, the first call I made was to the operations center of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

I explained who I was and my authority. I then submitted an essential elements of intelligence tasker to the DIA: “I need to know the location of the major business centers; what is the security situation and the U.S. relationship with the local government; what are the capabilities and locations of sea and airports;, and what are the conditions of road networks in Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and South West Asia – immediately.”

As soon as I completed that call, my phone rang again.
This time the HQ 3rd Army ARCENT Principle Assistant Responsible for Contracting, COL. Tom Ehlinger, was on the line. We had a long conversation about appointment of contracting officers, office and communications equipment, a reference library, personal gear and mobilization points, coordination with the other Armed Services, Departments of State and Treasury, and relationships with both HQ CENTCOM and IMEF. He did not know the answers to many of my questions, but promised to find out.

The most challenging and disappointing information that he provided was that there was no doctrine for what I was about to do and that no Army organization or command had deployable contracting officers or authorized equipment or vehicles for an expeditionary mission. This was despite the fact that the Army and Defense Logistics Agency had fielded a large provisional Army contracting command in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm only 18 months prior to our current mission.

I personally knew two of the officers who had commanded that contingency contracting command, LTC John Barb and COL. Dan Bartlett.

I called John and through a 6-hour telephone conversation, listened as he provided me with his insights from that operation in Saudi Arabia, a very rich host nation with well developed infrastructure – very valuable information for me to consider. But I would have to apply his lessons learned to an entirely different operating environment. LTC Barb explained the requirement for teaming with finance officers and the critical role of international communications. I also spoke to Dan, who provided more advice, most importantly that I must immediately get control of the requirements coming from the various commands. Then about 11:30 PM, I called my wife to tell her of my mission and arrived home an hour later.  She told me I had received several calls on the home telephone that evening.   A phone call at my home in Wilmington, Delaware woke me early the next morning; it was one of many from various commands asking me more questions than I could answer, while offering me assistance. I had tickets for the Army Navy football game that day in Philadelphia and had promised my three sons we were going to the game. I asked Mr. Bob Scott, Deputy Commander of the Defense Contract Management Command and COL. Mike Jorgenson, who worked for Mr. Dausman, to arrange a meeting of key joint leaders in the stadium at the game.

So at half-time, in the end zone of Veterans Stadium, I met with several general and flag officers and key staff officers from the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Joint Staff, and the White House. In a short 10-15 minutes discussion we covered the mission to Somalia and how my command would contractually support the operation. They gave me the overall intent of the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I gained a much better understanding of the concept for the forthcoming operation. They promised me that the President and Secretary of Defense would declare Operation Restore Hope a contingency operation. Just as importantly, I received their assurance that each of their offices would provide me with whatever assistance I needed to accomplish my mission.

  The level of friendly cooperation and understanding of the importance of my portion of the mission was reassuring and actually quite surprising, given that I was the most junior of all the leaders meeting in the end zone to discuss an on-going military operation. Immediately after the conclusion of the game (Army won 25 to 24), I stopped by my office to gather and read the reams of facsimile messages and orders that had been sent there, and to make several coordinating telephone calls while my sons packed up my personal papers, telephones (including a secure telephone), fax machines, FAR/DFARS, and office supplies, leaving behind a temporary hand receipt for the equipment.

After returning home, I called Fort Dix, Fort Meade, Fort Belvoir, and West Point in search of desert uniforms, field gear, body armor, and weapons. None could provide a weapon and other essential personal or organizational equipment. I also called the J-1 at HQ CENTCOM and developed a “battle roster” of contracting officers from all four Services, as well as operations and administrative staff personnel required to form a battalion task force HQ for my provisional command, with the J-1 promising to fill those positions as soon as possible.

On Sunday, I continued gathering information and received offers of assistance from many different commands, making contact with the IMEF G-4 for the first time. I again visited my office in Philadelphia, hoping in vain that the personal orders I needed would have been prepared and faxed there from TAPA. What they did send was a checklist of recommended inoculations, dental and health requirements for pre-deployment, and recommended personal equipment. I placed another call to COL. Jorgenson, asking for his office to support my being issued the personal gear I needed. He directed me to the Fort Dix Central Issue Facility, saying he would call the Chief of Staff there to ensure I would be issued a personal firearm, body armor, and all required pre-deployment support, including medical/dental clearance and the necessary inoculations.

On Monday, I went back to my office to check in-coming faxes for orders and status of assignment of personnel to my command. I made further inquiries about where I was to obtain the vehicles and equipment for my provisional command, especially communications equipment. Due to Operational Security constraints, I could not obtain either a copy of the CENTCOM or IMEF classified operations orders so that I could understand the concept of operations, intent of the JTF Commander, and scheme of maneuver and logistics support plans. While leaving the building of the Defense Personnel Support Command in Philadelphia, I ran into a Marine lieutenant colonel who asked where I was going in such a hurry. I explained my situation and he asked me if I needed some desert uniforms; that he was the OIC of the government uniform factory. I was elated to be given 4 sets of desert uniforms right off the production line. Then I drove to Fort Dix in hopes of getting all the inoculations and medications, as well as personal field gear and weapon. The hospital at Fort Dix was in the process of closing due to BRAC decisions, as was the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia; so I had to go to both places, plus the Air Force health clinic at McGuire AFB to receive all the inoculations and prescribed medicines that were needed for Africa. I received a partial CTA 50-900 issue of field gear, but no luck obtaining a weapon and body armor. Try telling an Army arms room supply sergeant that you need to be issued a weapon, have no orders, are going overseas to a combat zone, do not know how long you will be gone, and that you have no Army unit of assignment – but promise to bring it back .

While I was away from my house, my wife purchased a Christmas tree and decorated it, purchased and wrapped gifts for the family and that night my family had an early Christmas celebration. I received word that I was to depart for Camp Pendleton, CA. the next day from Philadelphia.

 I packed two footlockers of office equipment and supplies, as well as my two duffle bags of uniforms and field gear and said good-bye to my family the next day. The lack of sleep and reaction to the multitude of inoculations had taken its toll. I fell asleep from exhaustion on the airplane. It was my first rest in 96 hours. I was fighting a fever, still worried about how to form a unique command from scratch, deploy it in time, and obtain the necessary organizational equipment.

COL. Ehlinger met me at the San Diego Airport and drove me to Camp Pendleton, where I reported to HQ IMEF and was warmly greeted by my point of contact COL. E. L. Gobeli, the IMEF G4. They had arranged for me to meet with key staff officers and DOD civilians who represented the following organizations: Department of State, Department of Treasury, Central Intelligence Agency, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Air Force, Secretary of the Army, Under Secretary of Defense (AT&L), JCS J-4, CENTCOM J-1 and J-4, IMEF J-2, J-3, J-4, J-5, and J-6, Canadian Armed Forces, as well as ARCENT and other participating commands.

We immediately began what became a 9-hour coordination and planning meeting. I heard for the first time the overall intelligence, operational, and logistics plans and concept of operations. They portrayed a hostile operating environment, an area of operations the size of the state of California, dependent upon airlifted and sealifted strategic, operational, and tactical supplies and equipment. Then they asked me to brief my concept of operations for contracting support.

I had been mentally formulating those plans for days. As an Infantry officer, having been a brigade S3 and Corps Support Group S3 prior to becoming a member of the Army Acquisition Corps, I understood my role was to support the overall operational concept and scheme of maneuver of the JTF commander with engineering and logistical support. My oldest son had contributed significantly to my geo-spatial understanding of the difficulty of logistics by obtaining from the Wilmington library old National Geographic and Michelin maps of Somalia and the Horn of Africa. While preparing for my own deployment, I had developed a unique concept for how I was going to support the multi-national force of 35-45 thousand personnel.

  General Hoar, the CENTCOM CG later said that, “logistically it was like going to the moon.” Somalia was an equatorial desert country without a functioning government, in the midst of a civil war and with a humanitarian crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of starving people. There were no adequate or secure seaports or airfields. I told the assembled planners that I would be triple hatted – Commander of the Theater Contracting Command, U.S. Executive Agent for Contracting, and Chairman of the CENTCOM Acquisition Board. I intended to establish a small HQ staff in Mogadishu for command and control, but that I needed a dedicated international acquisition satellite communications network. I further stated that I intended to place all existing DoD contracting offices in Southern Europe, Africa, and Southwestern Asia under Operational Control of the Theater Contracting Command. Based on the information they had provided, I planned to:
(1) Expand the capacity of the existing Marine contracting office in Mombasa, Kenya (to utilize the deep water port and international airfield there as the primary logistics and contracting delivery and transfer point for in-theater airlifted support to the US and allied forces in Somalia);
(2) Activate the newly awarded U.S. Army Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract; and
(3) Utilize deployed Army ordering officers, in conjunction with Army and Marine finance officers to make micro purchases that could be made in Somalia.

My concept was well received by the assembled representatives, who pledged to assist my efforts. I told them I would be issuing a world-wide operations order that formalized the concept that I had just briefed. Then I literally collapsed on the floor from exhaustion. As I slept, some unidentified good Samaritans carried me to a transient officer’s barracks and deposited me, uniform, field jacket, and boots in a bed.

Over the next two days, while waiting for more personnel to arrive and trying to secure seats on a deployment flight, I prepared the Operations Order and world-wide message that placed all existing DoD contracting offices in EUCOM and CENTCOM under my operational control, operating out of the Joint Field Contracting Office (JFKO) – Mogadishu, Somalia, co-located with the JTF HQ. The Secretary of the Army’s office called me to congratulate me on the concept and told me that the Army Corps of Civil Engineers Command had appointed a Navy Captain as the contracting officer for LOGCAP, who was already on his way to Mombasa, Kenya. The first two officers who would be working for me reported for duty – an experienced contracting officer from the Air Force – a Captain instead of the Lieutenant Colonel that I had requested from the J-1, and a Reserve Marine Lieutenant Colonel with no contracting experience, but willing to learn and help. I was told by the IMEF G4 that their office would ensure the JFKO would be attached to the IMEF headquarters company, supported with rations and organizational equipment, and designated as the J-4 Acquisition staff.

The Marines took care of my personal pre-deployment needs, providing me a pair of desert boots, body armor, rucksack, and M9 pistol – and dental records. As we waited for our airlift to Somalia, the remainder of my immediate staff reported for duty, all except for the operations sergeant major that I had requested. I was disappointed that only two of my staff had any contracting experience – Captain Patrick Greenawalt USAF and Commander William Boudra, USN. The only NCO assigned to my command arrived with a driver/ clerk-typist from 3rd MEF in Okinawa, an hour prior to our departure. That was Marine Sergeant (E-5) Billy Smith, who had at least worked in a contracting office doing small purchase orders, and Corporal Dale Carmichael. I was told by the J-1 that the rest of my staff would be arriving later and would deploy with follow-on forces. None of the Air Force or Navy officers had ever been outside of an office or knew how to assemble and wear their field gear. I expressed my concern to COL Ehlinger, who promised that ARCENT would be sending me additional contracting officers and NCOs to perform administrative and logistics functions.

During the 27 hour chartered 747 flight from California to Somalia, I met with my staff and briefed them on my concept of operations, as well as our first actions upon arrival in Mogadishu. When we landed, the oppressive heat in Somalia was like a blast furnace hitting us in the face. As we unloaded the aircraft by hand, we were watched by hundreds of Somali on-lookers who stood a few hundred feet away behind a barbed wire fence secured by US Marines. We were to be transported via dump truck to the former US embassy compound, about 4 miles away in an armed convoy. After drawing ammunition, I organized our truck’s passengers, assigned sectors of observation and fire, and instructed them in the event of ambush. One of the passengers was the JTF Judge Advocate General, a Marine Colonel, who told me that the rules of engagement had not yet been developed. I reminded him and the other 10-12 people in my truck bed that we always have the right of self-defense.

About 10 minutes after our arrival at the ruined former US embassy compound, a Somali sniper’s round whizzed by my head and struck the sand a few feet away. Lt. Col. Jespersen, my Reserve Marine staff officer, climbed up on some debris to try to locate the sniper, I immediately pulled him back down and told him to stay down behind the protection of the embassy wall. That shot confirmed the situation of chaos and danger that I had anticipated and made me realize that after 24 years of training and preparation for combat, this was no exercise – it was the real thing. We established a defensible position near a destroyed bunker.

After I reported into the JTF HQ J4 and inquired about the security situation and who was responsible for providing force protection of the JTF HQ and embassy compound, I told my staff to get some sleep. The next morning all Lieutenant Colonels and above were called into the embassy building to meet with Lieutenant General Robert Johnston, the JTF Marine Commander. LGEN Johnston asked each of us why we were there? What was our function? He realized there were more senior officers in the JTF than were needed and about one third of the Colonels were told to redeploy to home station as soon as possible on returning aircraft. After meeting the CG, we listened to a personnel, intelligence, operations, and logistics situational briefing by the JTF staff, followed by initial mission guidance from the commander. The JTF primary mission was to provide security for the 49 Non-Government Organizations (NGO) that were providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Somalia; facilitate the geographic disbursement of humanitarian meals, water, and medical care from United Nations and United States sources as they arrived by sea and air; and we were to “leave no lasting US footprint – get in, secure the transportation network, hand-off to a United Nations peacekeeping force, and get out.”
He passed on the guidance he had received from GEN Colin Powell that President George H. W. Bush wanted us to be redeploying within 90 days, leaving no stay behind commitment of US forces.

After coordination within the JTF HQ, we displaced the JFKO to a dirt floor office in the former US embassy, establishing satellite communications with contracting offices in Mombasa, Kenya; United Arab Emirates; and Naples, Italy. We checked with the JTF Comptroller and tasked the Navy LOGCAP contracting officer CAPT Jim Spore, to purchase 3 million liters of bottled water for delivery to Mogadishu. More US forces were flowing in from Europe and CONUS, thousands per day. The first day, a Marine was bitten by a highly poisonous black mamba snake. We searched all night for an antidote serum in the Middle East or Africa, finally obtaining an airlifted vial from Israel to save that Marine’s life. Meanwhile, at the first JTF staff meeting, I briefed the Acquisition Plan and announced the formation of the First Joint Theater Contracting Command and activation of the CENTCOM Acquisition Board.

Other allied forces were arriving in the area of operations and thousands more were expected. The CG planned on supporting the incoming allied forces with basic US consumable supplies. I informed him that unless the US had an approved Acquisition Cross Servicing Agreement, (i.e., a reciprocal support treaty) the President had to approve the transfer of US supplies to our allies. Initially being skeptical of my advice, after he verified with the CENTCOM JAG that I was correct, at his direction I prepared a message asking for the Presidential Determination and delegated authority to negotiate and approve Acquisition Cross-Servicing Agreements with the 25 nations providing forces in the now officially designated United Nations Unified Task Force. After that, LGEN Johnston had absolute trust in me and my professional judgment. So now I also became the Director of International Support and I assigned Lt. Col. Jespersen the responsibility of negotiating those international treaties and signed those on behalf of President George H. W. Bush. The next day, the third day of the operation, LGEN Johnston asked me if I could develop an early withdrawal plan for US forces, substituting US contracted support in lieu of US logistics forces to support the expected United Nations peacekeeping forces.

As the force grew, I coordinated the plan I developed for the early withdrawal of US forces from Somalia. LGEN Johnston sent it to GEN Hoar, the CENTCOM CG, GEN Mundy Commandant of the Marine Corps, GEN Sullivan Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN Powell Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Secretaries of Defense and State. It asked a series of questions about the end state and mission objectives, which were key to both understanding what would remain of US forces (if any), when the mission was to be handed off to the United Nations peacekeeping force, and under what circumstances.

The original logistics plan for Operation Restore Hope was to initially provide support through deploying Military Sealift Command, US Navy ships, US Air Force strategic airlift, Civil Reserve Air Fleet airlift of personnel, and US Navy/Marine logistics units, and the prepositioned equipment and supplies based in Diego Garcia, using the Somali airport in Mogadishu, seaports of Mogadishu and Kismayu. However, two years of civil war had destroyed the ports, the harbors were too shallow without dredging, and high sea states precluded the use of those strategic prepositioned stores from being delivered to support the operation. So instead of contingency contracting augmenting those military logistics efforts, contracting within the theater of operations became the primary source of sustainment, supplemented by strategic airlift from CONUS and tactical airlift within the theater.

To control the flow of requirements, consistent with the stated JTF commander’s intent of having an austere operating environment, I placed CDR Boudra in the J4 office to review the requirements, and validate it with either the J4 COL Sam Hatton, or JTF Engineer COL Bob Flowers. Next, he had to contact CAPT Spore in Mombasa, Kenya to obtain an estimate of the cost from the LOGCAP contractor (Brown and Root) and then approval from the Marine Comptroller. Finally, with funding approval, CDR Boudra authorized CAPT Spore to issue a task order to the LOGCAP contractor for execution. This process normally only took a couple of hours. Then CDR Boudra would coordinate with the J4 or Engineer and track the delivery of the supplies or services. If it was a local procurement, then Captain Greenawalt and/or SGT Smith, who became my operations officer and NCO, would coordinate with the supported force for an Ordering Officer to make the small purchase, or for it to be purchased in Mombasa and flown to the supported command the next day. Using the First Theater Contracting Command that the operations order had created, supported by the J6 satellite communications equipment loaned to the J4 Acquisition/JFKO Mogadishu, Captain Greenawalt and SGT Smith were able to alert the entire acquisition network of contracting offices of requirements; obtain availability and prices for supplies and equipment; task the contracting office best able to fulfill the requirement to procure, arrange export, customs clearances, and transportation of the goods to Mombasa (or if airlifted, directly to Mogadishu). Estimated delivery schedules were then transmitted to the J4 and monitored by my office.

The First Theater Contracting Command consisted of: 14 contracting offices located at major business centers in 12 Southern European, SW Asian, and African nations – two of which were operated by Australian armed forces, each of which acted as procurement and export or import offices in those countries and arranged for shipment by commercial or military air or sealift, to the main logistics support base of Mombasa, Kenya. In Mombasa, we contracted for seaport facilities, rail and ground transportation, and for exclusive use of the international airport and aircraft maintenance facilities. In August 1992, Prior to Operation Restore Hope, the US had begun a humanitarian relief mission to Somalia, establishing a small JTF Provide Relief, approximately 1500 personnel in Mombasa, who continued loading and delivering the food to starving Somalis via tactical airlift, while also transitioning into being the main logistics base for Operation Restore Hope. Supplies and equipment were procured and shipped to Mombasa, where they were transported to the airfield. There they were palletized and loaded on twenty-three (23) US and Canadian C-130s and four (4) C-160 German aircraft each night for delivery the next day to US forces and NGO humanitarian relief centers at the nine Humanitarian Relief Sectors (HRS) and collocated US base camps established by the JTF Restore Hope. I assigned an Air Force lieutenant colonel to plan and coordinate all the tactical airlift missions to ensure timely and proper deliveries to all nine HRSs.

Throughout the operation, bottled water and its distribution within Somalia continued to be the most frequently procured and problematic item, with three shiploads being delivered to the command. The majority of logistics support to the command came through the LOGCAP contract. Local purchases were primarily for unskilled labor doing camp services through Somali clans hired in equal numbers to fulfill those requirements. Later, large amounts (several ship loads) of construction materials became the prime focus of international procurement and transportation efforts. As was true at each of the JFKO US Contracting Offices, the Army established a finance office in Mombasa to establish an international banking office on behalf of the US Treasury Department and to pay vendors for contracted deliveries.

After two of the chiefs of NGO humanitarian relief organizations were murdered by their Somali security guards over wage disputes, I was asked to meet with all the NGOs and develop standard wage scales for all types of employment in the country. The initial onslaught of US news media who had accompanied the arrival of US forces in December 1992 had caused the black-market exchange rate of Somalia Shillings and US Dollars to be super inflated, so that NGOs were being extorted by the so called security guards to pay as much as $1500 per day (per guard). Each NGO, US and allied forces organization had established different agreements for similar services (laundry, waste disposal, health care assistants, cooks, etc). So by edict, signed by the CG, but negotiated by me in coordination with the NGO representatives, we assigned labor wage scales for the entire country of Somalia. The coordination meetings with the NGOs to ensure their security and share information became a weekly event, with the establishment of a Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC), being an extension of the J3/J4 staff sections, headed by COL Tom Kennedy.

Soon the allied and US forces were employing so many Somalis, approximately 3600, that I had to negotiate with the only people in Somalia who had any money to exchange – the two warlords, Mohamed Farrah Aidid and Mohammed Ali Mahdi in Mogadishu. We bartered approximately $100,000 per month into Somali Schillings, in order to pay the Somali laborers, who would not accept US currency for their services.

In order to support the extensive UNITAF engineering efforts – i.e., clear millions of mines and repair or build a two-way road network (including bridges) in a region the size of the state of California, and construct nine base camps for the humanitarian relief sectors, each with their own airfield capable of landing a C-130 day and night – I assigned two of the contracting staff in Mombasa Kenya to oversee the procurement and trans-loading of engineering equipment and supplies from deep water port or railhead, to palletized loads on the C-130s every day and night. We also had to assist in the clearance and restoration of the ports at Kismayu and Mogadishu through contracted support. COL Bob Flowers also placed two of his senior engineering specialists in Mombasa to ensure the quality of the materials being delivered and to oversee their distribution to the proper humanitarian relief sector project.

Twice, I was concerned with the lack of timely deliveries of procured supplies and decided to physically follow the flow of requests, procurement orders, and deliveries through Mombasa to either the Mogadishu seaport or airfield. I discovered that the delivery of contracted goods was frustrated by well meaning, but misguided military logisticians who were not integrating the transportation of procured supplies or equipment with military delivered materiel, thus causing chokepoints for critical items needed by the command. After conducting some impromptu training and education classes for the port and airfield logistics leaders, those problems did not recur.

Throughout the operation, I personally focused on the operation of the entire theater-wide acquisition system of international procurement, the flow of goods in transition to military logistics, and financial management external to Mogadishu. I entrusted to my staff the key function of running our J4 Acquisition and International Support operations center on a daily basis. Captain Greenawalt, Sergeant Smith, and Corporal Carmichael expertly performed the role of a major joint staff section operations center, often briefing, interacting with general officers and senior commanders to inform and resolve problems. CDR Boudra kept LOGCAP requirements validated and tracked for completion of tasks. Lt. Col. Jespersen coordinated and recorded the support of the 25 allied nation’s armed forces. As promised, two more Army procurement officers, a sergeant driver, and another Navy contracting officer arrived to assist in mission execution. I assigned Major Thomas Kennedy from the 10th Infantry Division (Mountain) to oversee the 120 Army ordering officers making small purchases throughout Somalia.

In accordance with LGEN Johnston’s guidance, I began negotiations with the UN Ambassador Mr. Ismat Kitani and his deputy Dr. Philip Johnston for the hand-over to the United Nations peacekeeping forces. Mr. Robert Oakley, the US Special Envoy to Somalia, and LGEN Johnston did so in coordinated and parallel efforts at higher military and diplomatic levels than were my negotiations. With a study group composed of five Army colonels and subject matter experts, we developed the projected LOGCAP contractual requirements for the next two years – one primary year and one option year of support to a peacekeeping force of approximately 5,000 located at 9 HRS base camps and adjacent airfields. We planned on using the restored ports of Kismayu and Mogadishu, with a central logistics base in Mombasa with an airfield and aircraft maintenance facilities, deepwater port, and railhead operated by contractor personnel. We flew to Mombasa to negotiate with the LOGCAP contractor and obtained agreed reasonable costs so that funds could be budgeted and a decision made concerning expanding the LOGCAP services to replace US logistics forces – almost $800 million per year. This was part of the plan for early withdrawal of US forces that was then briefed to the CG CENTCOM, Generals Powell, Sullivan, and Mundy, and to President Bush during his visit to US forces in January 1993.

Each time we left the embassy compound to conduct coordination with other commands, visit the seaport or airport, we traveled in a two-three vehicle armed convoy. Three times we were ambushed by Somali gunmen, with SGT Smith and MAJ William Harrell performing valorous acts of bravery in the face of enemy fire. Unfortunately, the newly arrived Navy contracting officer, LCDR Dave Noble, was severely wounded and medically evacuated out of the Theater.

In early January, when we understood the US-to-UN handoff would occur on 7 March, LGEN Johnston told the JTF HQ staff and subordinate commands to begin withdrawal of US forces and downsizing of our staff. After a three day battle between US and allied forces against Somali war-gangs in Kismayu and Mogadishu, in which we sustained several KIA and WIA, that redeployment was accelerated. I was ordered by LGEN Johnston to return to CONUS and brief the Under Secretary of Defense (AT&L) and Secretary of the Army and HQ CENTCOM on the lessons learned during the operation and to find out what was delaying implementation of the early withdrawal plan that President Bush had personally approved. I was ordered to hand off my contracting responsibilities to Major Harrell, a contracting officer in the 13th COSCOM, the CMOC responsibilities to COL Kennedy, the UN transition and warlord negotiations to COL Hamilton.

The morning I departed the embassy compound, as we fought our way to the airfield, I received a wound to my forearm from a grenade tossed by a Somali child. I redeployed in a C-141 with the last of my JFKO staff, SGT Smith and CPL Carmichael and 96 other military personnel as the aircraft troop commander. Along the way we experienced two aircraft crashes and a third mid-air emergency that both delayed our return to CONUS and re-routed us through Ramstein AFB, Germany and Dover AFB, Delaware. A day after my return to the USA, I prepared my briefings on Harvard Graphics software. The next day I presented several lessons learned briefings to the offices of the Secretary of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L in the Pentagon, then subsequently to HQ CENTCOM, HQ ARCENT, and HQ TRADOC. During the briefing to the Acting Secretary of the Army, I was asked to write the doctrine for contingency contracting for first the Army then for the Joint Staff, a task I completed as an additional duty over the next two years while assigned as the Director of Contracting and PARC for the US Military Academy, resulting in AFARS 2 being published, followed by FM100-10-2 Contracting Support on the Battlefield, and portions of FM 100-23 Peace Operations. I also contributed to the applicable portions of JP 3-0 and JP 4-0, incorporating contingency contracting operational support. During the next 8 years, until my retirement from active duty, as an additional duty assignment, I was appointed as a member of the Army Science Board, tasked to assist in planning the operational contracting support of every US contingency and peace operation during the Clinton administration, (Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti, Korea, Zaire, Serbia, Kosovo, etc.) In addition, I assisted the Defense Acquisition University in developing the Contingency Contracting Officers Course and helped teach the pilot course.

   Unfortunately, the Secretary General of the United Nations, disapproved the early withdrawal plan that President Bush had approved, wanting our UNOSOM II task force to disarm the warring Somali factions before he would approve the hand-off to UN peacekeeping forces. During the transition of US national government leadership in the spring of 1993, those plans were delayed, debated, remained undecided, substantially modified, and unexecuted until May. US logistics and combat forces continued to be stationed in Somalia under UN command, while the US Special Operations Command had a contingent of Army Rangers and Special Operations aviation assets under another chain of command. The famous Blackhawk Down battle of October 1993, prompted a strategic review of the US mission and most US forces were withdrawn in March 1994, supported by the LOGCAP contract administered by the Defense Logistics Agency, the last of whom departed Somalia in March 1995 (Operation United Shield). In delayed recognition of the combat operations of US Army units and personnel, in November 2014, the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army authorized a campaign streamer for operations in Somalia 5 December 1992 through 31 March 1995.

  In conclusion, this narrative illustrates the principles of Mission Command, long before it became Army doctrine. Based upon my professional qualifications as a certified Army Contracting Manager, the senior Army Contracting official trusted me to plan and execute this mission. Mr. Dausman did not try to tell me how to accomplish the mission; he gave me mission orders and the Army's strategic intent. He assigned responsibility, delegated authority, and allocated essential resources. I trusted him to get answers to my questions and provide the support I requested, (e.g., people, funds, JIIM support, etc.) to accomplish the mission. LGEN Johnston also trusted the Army to provide him with a qualified officer to advise him and execute acquisition support of his Joint Task Force. Through daily contact and interaction we developed mutual trust as we worked together to accomplish our combined mission. Similar to Mr. Dausman, LGEN Johnston gave me clear guidance concerning his intent in each of the initiatives for which I was responsible; adding additional responsibilities as our mutual trust grew. LGEN Johnston did not try to manage any of those tasks; he expected me to keep him informed of progress and solve problems that were within my authority and expertise. Having both strategic and cultural situational awareness, I exercised disciplined initiative to achieve the commander's intent. Both Mr. Dausman and LGEN Johnston accepted risk that I might make mistakes or suffer setbacks. I also accepted the risk of physical harm to all members of my command, taking prudent risk, while ever conscious of the need to protect them (and the contractors supporting us).

I began building mutual trust and a cohesive team from my earliest interaction with each member of my provisional command headquarters staff, assessed who had what skills and knowledge, and selected each for specific but cross-functional duties and gave them mission orders to accomplish important tasks. They kept me informed and sought my guidance or decisions for key issues and major problems. But each of them understood that I trusted them to use their professional judgment to accomplish the mission in the right way; that if they felt threatened physically or professionally, that they knew they could count on my support and the protection of the rest of the JTF team. Even in a short deployment, earning and reinforcing trust, both vertically and horizontally, is essential. Over the years, those same Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors have kept in touch with me and are proud of our many firsts that became the doctrinal model for future contingency contracting operations.


Kenneth Allard, Somalia Operations: Lessons Learned, National Defense University, Washington, DC, 1995.

Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement Manual No. 2 (Contingency Contracting), HQ Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 1993.

Robert B. Oakley and Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Two Perspectives on Intervention and Humanitarian Operations, US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, Publication 320, 1 July 1997.

FM 100-10-2, Contracting Support on the Battlefield, HQ Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 1999.

General Orders 14-73, Operations in Somalia Campaign Participation Credit, HQ Department of the Army, 21 November 2014. , Autumn 1993, Issue No. 2.

Walter S. Poole, The Effort to Save Somalia , August 1992 to March 1994, Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC, 2005.

Richard W. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia 1992-1994, AUSA Commemorative Edition, December 2002, reprinted by permission of the US Army Center for Military History.

Michael M. Toler, "Contingency Contracting: Operation Restore Hope", Contract Management, VOL. 35, No. 1, 1994.