Supporting expeditionary intelligence forces.
Versatility and flexibility are mandatory traits that the supply team at Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command (NEIC) employs daily in support of NEIC Intelligence Exploitation Teams (IET). IETs provide an adaptive intelligence capability to Navy component and Joint Force commanders in multiple Areas of Responsibility (AOR).
Since the small logistics staff does not deploy with the operational units, mission accomplishment relies heavily on a thorough pre-deployment planning cycle through which all material, cargo, and financial requirements for each deploying unit are identified and executed.
Efficient communication is the name of the game when it comes to supporting forces in multiple AORs from the confines of an office in Dam Neck, Va. The staff coordinates daily with logistics hubs in 5th and 6th Fleets, the Horn of Africa, and Joint Operating BaseAfghanistan to ensure forward deployed NEIC forces have the resources required to complete the mission. Understanding and leveraging the logistics programs and processes that joint forces utilize is critical to the fluid movement of troops and cargo throughout theater.
Outfitting IETs with the required Table of Allowance (TOA) gear requires material procurement and stock management practices atypical to most of the fleet. A substantial portion of NEIC's intelligence collection assets are commercial, off-the-shelf equipment. Standard procurement vehicles are seldom used, as NEIC relies on extensive and constant coordination with vendors to satisfy most material shortfalls. Proficiency in contracting and exposure to a wide variety of procurement corridors are added benefits of being forced to deviate from the normal supply channels.
The variety of missions that NEIC executes creates a wide-ranging requirement for material assets. NEIC operators integrate with shipboard VBSS teams, work with U.S. embassies, train foreign navies, and perform ground intelligence missions in multiple countries.
Ensuring material readiness across the board requires a multi-faceted approach to procurement that requires a certain amount of creativity and a thorough understanding of acquisition regulations. It's not as simple as putting a stock number into a system; even the simplest of requirements usually goes well above and beyond that level of procurement. This allows the NEIC logistics staff to exercise a variety of skill sets.
Having to cover so many functional areas at a relatively new command has provided an invaluable professional development opportunity for the entire staff. In addition to routine business, there must be a willingness and ability to take on additional tasks in support of the command, such as the travel program and management of the Defense Travel System. LS1(AW) Thomas Joyce, Supply Department leading petty officer, sheds some light on the mentality that one must have: "It all comes down to our core competencies, and utilizing our professional skills to support the command and get the job done," he explained. "At NEIC, you have to be ready for anything."*
By Lt. Alex Gardner, SC, USN
Supply Officer, Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command
Lt. Alex Gardner reported as Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command's first supply officer in November 2009, where he currently serves in a staff department head capacity.