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Handbook 09-48
September 2009

Chapter 5

Government-Provided Support Considerations

Contractors provide their own logistic support except when providing that support is impractical, cost-prohibitive, or otherwise not in the best interest of the government. Since most military operations are conducted in austere or non-permissive environments, contractors authorized to accompany the force (CAAF) often receive military-provided support or the military arranges for another contractor to provide support. In these situations the contractor will detail what support the government will provide in the terms and conditions of the solicitation. Subsequently, after determining the support requirements and assessing the availability of support from theater-adjudication authorities, the contract will specify what support will be provided. Without understanding the overall support requirement to include specific government-furnished support requirements for CAAF, the supporting unit will not be able to accurately plan for and direct support responsibilities in the operational area.

Base Operating and Facility Support

In permissive and non-austere operations, contractors should arrange for their own lodging, subsistence, and facilities; however, this may not be possible in hostile and austere environments. The military will provide support in circumstances where the contractor has no commercial infrastructure from which to draw, or when it is cost prohibitive for a contractor to furnish the support. If contractor-arranged base-operating support would impede the government's force protection efforts, generate competition with the military, or adversely influence prices, the military must consider providing the support, or at least directly coordinating this support within U.S. bases. The operational commander has the authority to direct where CAAF reside under the terms and conditions of the contract. CAAF must generally be provided the same standard that is applied to Department of Defense (DOD) civilian personnel of similar pay grade and responsibility level.

In some operations or phases of operations, selected CAAF may be required to temporarily live under field conditions. Field conditions are quite different from normal civilian life; these conditions are characterized by austere and communal living with a collective responsibility for the living area. The contracting officer (KO) must ensure that appropriate clauses are included in the contract for all CAAF who may be expected to perform their duties under field conditions.

Subsistence may be provided to contractors, either in conjunction with government-provided lodging or separately, when CAAF are unable to obtain subsistence during their daily work shift or for other operational reasons. For CAAF living in field conditions, the food provided might be pre-packaged rations with very little opportunity for choice; consequently, special diets may not be accommodated. Because of dietary needs, in some sustained operations it may be desirable to have separate contracts run dining facilities that provide ethnic-based subsistence that may be both less expensive and more appealing to third country national (TCN) employees.

Although it is natural to expect reimbursement from contractors for the cost of lodging and subsistence, the cost for such support is normally be included in the overall cost of the contract. Therefore, when possible, subsistence support should be provided on a non-reimbursable basis to eliminate the unnecessary, administrative burden of reimbursement. However, joint force command planners must include the cost of supporting contractors in the overall cost of the operation so adequate funding is provided.

Similar to base operating support, facility support to contractor personnel is situationally dependent. Facility support must be planned for as early as possible, especially in austere and non-permissive environments where contract companies cannot coordinate their own facility support. In these situations, external support and system contractor managers must provide their requirements during contract negotiations. The KO or designated administrative KO must then coordinate these requirements with the appropriate command engineer.

Personnel Recovery

The DOD personnel recovery (PR) program is the aggregate of military, civil, and political efforts to recover captured, detained, evading, isolated, or missing personnel from uncertain or hostile environments and denied areas. PR may occur through military action, action by non-governmental organizations, other U.S. government-approved action and diplomatic initiatives, or through any combination of these options. According to DOD policy, CAAF must be included in the PR program.

Note: DOD Instruction (DODI) 3020.41, Contractor Personnel Authorized to Accompany the U.S. Armed Forces; DOD Directive (DODD) 2310.2, Personnel Recovery; and Joint Publication (JP) 3-50, Personnel Recovery, provide additional details on the PR program.


During contingency operations in austere or non-permissive environments, CAAF will most likely be unable to access medical support from local sources. Therefore, DOD policy and doctrine directs the Army forces command, at a minimum, to be prepared to have U.S. level III medical treatment facilities (MTFs) provide emergency medical care to all CAAF and non-CAAF contract employees who are injured in the immediate vicinity of U.S. forces or on a U.S. base. This medical support includes emergency and resuscitative care, stabilization, hospitalization at a level III MTF, and assistance with patient movement in emergencies where loss of life, limb, or eyesight could occur. Nonetheless, all CAAF must be afforded routine, western medical care either at a deployed MTF or by accessing a modern medical facility outside their area of operations.

Note: Further detailed guidance on medical support to deployed contractor personnel can be found in Appendix E of DODI 3020.41, Contractor Personnel Authorized to Accompany the U.S. Armed Forces; DODI 6490.03, Deployment Health; and JP 4-02, Health Service Support.

Major Equipment Items

Major equipment items include government-furnished equipment (GFE) and contractor-acquired, government-owned equipment. GFE includes Class VII items that are either deployed into the operational area with the contractor, or theater-provided equipment that is issued to the contractor in the operational area. GFE issuance, maintenance, and return is the responsibility of the appropriate requiring activity.

Postal Service

The nationality of the contractor employee usually determines postal support. U.S. citizen-contractor employees who deploy in support of U.S. armed forces may be authorized to use the military postal service (MPS) if there is no U.S. postal service available and if MPS use is not precluded by the terms of any international or host-nation agreement. In some operations, TCN personnel may be authorized limited access to MPS for the purpose of mailing paychecks to their home country.

Note: Additional information on postal operations can be found in DOD 4525.6-M, DOD Postal Manual.

Mortuary Affairs

The joint mortuary affairs program is a broadly-based military program that provides for the necessary care and disposition of deceased personnel, including personal effects, across the spectrum of conflict. Support to contractor personnel is normally done on a reimbursable basis. The specific nature and extent of the support is determined during the planning process and communicated to military forces and contractors through governing operation plans/orders and contractual documents.

Note: Additional information on mortuary affairs can be found in DODD 1300.22, Mortuary Affairs Policy, and JP 4-06, Mortuary Affairs in Joint Operations.

Post/Base Exchange Privileges

When deployed, CAAF are generally eligible to use the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Navy Exchange, or Marine Corps Exchange facilities for health and comfort items in operations where CAAF do not have access to commercial sources for these items. This privilege is dependent on the overall operational situation, status of forces agreement, and individual terms and conditions in the contract.

Note: Additional information on exchange privileges for deployed contractors can be found in DODI 1330.21, Armed Services Exchange Regulations.

Morale, Welfare, and Recreation

Deployed contractors have a responsibility to provide morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) services and other quality of life support to their own employees as much as practical. The availability of MWR programs in the operational area vary with the deployment location. MWR activities available may include self-directed recreation (such as the issue of sports equipment), entertainment in coordination with the United Service Organizations and the Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Overseas, military clubs, unit lounges, and some types of rest centers.


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