U.S.-Coalition Forces and Host Nations DOTmLPF-P for Contingency Procurements Part 1

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Author: Darren W. Rhyne

This article uses the DOTmLPF-P construct (defined below) usually associated with non-materiel solution requirements analysis to propose recommendations for U.S.-coalition and host nation government (HNG) forces plus host nation vendors (HNV) when conducting procurements for HNG forces using the host nation (HN) industrial base in a contingency environment. These proposals are by no means exhaustive but are intended to provide some major areas to consider when executing an HN-first procurement policy.

What Is DOTmLPF-P?

The acronym DOTmLPF-P stands for Doctrine, Organization, Training, materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities and Policy. These topics together in this acronym are normally associated with the term “non-materiel solution” when conducting capability-based assessments under the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3170.01H, Jan. 10, 2012). The JCIDS Manual (Jan. 19, 2012) defines a non-materiel solution as “Changes to doctrine, organization, training, (existing) materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and/or facilities, implemented to satisfy one or more capability requirements (or needs) and reduce or eliminate one or more capability gaps, without the need to develop or purchase a new materiel solution.” In recent years, a “P” for Policy has been added to the acronym for a more inclusive analysis. The DOTmLPF-P construct also can be used to assess the impacts a new materiel solution will have on DOTmLPF-P, most of which are captured in the logistics functional area’s 12 Integrated Product Support elements. In this article, I instead use the DOTmLPF-P construct to provide recommendations for contingency procurement operations in which HNVs are used to supply and/or manufacture products for HNG forces under the auspices of U.S.-led procurements.


Even though the “P” for Policy is the last letter in the acronym DOTmLPF-P, it must be covered first. In general, a policy is a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent that is implemented as a procedure or protocol, which, in my use of the DOTmLPF-P construct, is carried out via Doctrine.

Policy in the form of laws, regulations and other government-approved pronouncements is the foundation for an HN-first procurement strategy. U.S. procurement of products for HNG forces using HNVs (an HN-first policy) must be directly traceable to U.S. laws, regulations and budgets to have legality and top cover. HN-first procurement policy should be expressed at the national and theater/regional level in the form of sections of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, official statements and memoranda from the U.S. ambassador or other Department of State (DoS) representatives and the coalition force commander, and directive memoranda from the regional U.S. joint-contracting authority. To solidify unity of effort, similar policies should exist among coalition nations and organizations such as NATO involved in a contingency operation that involves nation-building.

0506-article-9-secondary-1In addition, HNG laws, regulations and budgets should be in place to transition U.S.-coalition-led procurements to HN procurement organizations when the time comes to do so. That time must be mutually agreed upon by the U.S.-coalition procurement organizations and their HNG counterparts to ensure a smooth handover. Also, HN and U.S.-coalition policy should not preclude foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), such as Peace Dividend Trust, and foreign companies from partnering with HNVs to help them compete for procurements.
HN Customs laws and regulations should also be in place to allow expeditious importation of materials that vendors need to manufacture and supply products under U.S.-coalition-HNG procurement contracts. In addition, the HN’s laws and judicial system must exist to prosecute vendors found supporting criminal or insurgent elements and/or violating other HNG procurement and business laws. This applies equally to HNG procurement personnel who violate its laws, so that HNG and HNV personnel alike know corruption will not be tolerated and that there are punishable consequences for it. Integrity is of paramount importance.


According to the DoD Dictionary of Military Terms, doctrine comprises the “fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements thereof guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative but requires judgment in application.” In the context of this article, U.S. and coalition forces should have contracting instructions and manuals in place to carry out procurements for HNG forces using HNVs. To guide the execution of the “Afghan First” policy, U.S. Central Command’s Joint Contracting Command published an acquisition instruction and the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, Gen. David Petraeus, issued counterinsurgency contracting guidance to encourage U.S. procurements from Afghan vendors.

By the same token, the HNG should have procurement instructions and manuals in place to conduct procurements from its vendors according to its laws and policies. These instructions and manuals should be applied consistently nationwide. In addition, the HNG should permit NGOs access to the HNG procurement organizations and HNVs to improve government-vendor relations, assess the vendor base, and assist HNVs to be more responsive to HNG procurement needs.

Finally, the United States, coalition and HNG should have multiple methods in place to announce procurement opportunities to a wide population of vendors. In nations where the Internet is not widespread or commonly used for procurements, other methods such as newspapers, radio and community bulletin boards might be used to announce procurement opportunities to increase the pool of potential vendors.


According to the JCIDS Manual, an organization is “A joint unit or element with varied functions enabled by a structure through which individuals cooperate systematically to accomplish a common mission and directly provide or support joint warfighting capabilities.” Organization also is important for an HN-first procurement strategy.

U.S. forces conducting an HN-first procurement strategy should have a dedicated local acquisition (LA) organization, which may be under the Security Assistance Office or the logistics organization (J/CJ-4), that provides the program management function to execute the strategy. There also should be a general officer champion for the HN-first strategy. This will likely be the Deputy Commander for Programs or equivalent with formal ties to U.S.-coalition regional commanders. The U.S. logistics organization (J/CJ-4) must work with the HN logistics organization to receive products from HNVs and U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases, then distribute them to HNG forces. Proper reception, inspection, management and synchronization of these products with the HNG force structure needs (quantity, timeliness, etc.) are keys to success. The U.S. financial organization (J/CJ-8) manages budget allocation to the LA organization and Defense Finance and Accounting Service handles payments to HNVs, which is of the highest importance to good vendor relations. The U.S. contracting, finance and LA organizations must work together to manage and execute U.S.-led contracting efforts with HNVs. These must be handled with the utmost integrity, transparency and fairness to withstand the scrutiny of oversight entities such as a special inspector general for reconstruction and a commission on wartime contracting.

However, an HN-first strategy usually is carried out by more than just military forces. There should be an interagency working group established to coordinate U.S., HN and coalition efforts in developing HN infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors. U.S. membership should include representatives from DoD, DoS, Department of Commerce (DoC), Department of Agriculture and others. NGOs also should be a part of this working group, at least in an advisory capacity. In Afghanistan, we had two such interagency groups. One was the Afghan First Interagency Working Group, co-hosted by representatives from the DoC and DoS at the U.S. Embassy. The other was the Interagency Combined Joint Logistics Procurement Support Board (aka “I+6”), chaired by the head of U.S. Central Command’s Contracting Command (a one-star general). The Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting in Afghanistan led the Council of Colonels, which was the I+6’s working group. Both of the aforementioned groups met approximately monthly.

HNVs also may need training on how to manufacture products to U.S. specifications and standards under U.S. contracts. This may enable them eventually to market those products outside the HN at competitive prices.

The U.S. LA organization must develop a good professional relationship with the HNG procurement organizations, including understanding how they are organized and their relationships with the rest of their military/police organizations, particularly their logistics and finance components. Do they function like U.S. program management or developmental planning organizations or are they more purely contracting organizations? This is key to understanding their capabilities and limitations. Principal HNG organizational processes to understand are how procurement requests flow from regions to the headquarters, whether the system is based on customer pull or centrally managed push, and how products are distributed via the HNG logistics system. It does no good if excellently procured items can’t get to the customer at the point of use in a timely manner and in the quantity required.

From an organizational requirements and planning standpoint, the U.S. LA and HNG procurement organizations must understand which HN security forces need to be supplied. (Personnel in those organizations are equally important.) In Afghanistan, these HN customer organizations eventually included regular national army and police, training units, local police, national guards, border police, special forces, presidential security and HNG-sanctioned local/tribal militia, all of which required some common and some unique products. Most of these HN organizations were known right away, but a few, like the Afghan Local Police, an HNG-sanctioned local militia at the village level, emerged as the U.S.-Coalition-Afghan security strategy evolved.

Other organizations of great importance include the HNG organization that officially registers and licenses HN and external vendors to operate within its borders and validates HNV credentials. This is crucial to maintaining integrity among vendors to prevent a disbarred individual or company from reregistering under a different name to compete for contracts.
Organizations to assist vendors also are very important. These include the banks through which vendor financing and payments pass and any commerce and trade associations that may exist. NGOs can also be useful in understanding the “ground truth” of the HN industrial base and providing linkages between the Unites States, HNG and vendors.


U.S. procurement personnel should be trained in U.S. procurement laws/regulations in general, and for the contingency in question in particular, to understand the rules governing contingencies. For local acquisition personnel, recommended Defense Acquisition University (DAU) continuous learning modules are CLC 106, “Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) with a Mission Focus”; CLC 206, “COR in a Contingency Environment”; and CLC 222, “COR Online Training.” If possible, they should also at least meet the Acquisition Professional Development Program (APDP) certification requirements for Level I in Program Management. Training requirements must be reflected in the contingency operation’s Joint Manning Document.

U.S. procurement personnel also should be trained in generating and overseeing service contracts for HN personnel such as interpreters and accountants to assist them in their efforts, plus assisting U.S. forces in generating service contracts needed for support. The training should include generating a performance work statement and an accompanying quality assurance surveillance plan, obtaining the funding through the internal U.S. contingency budgeting process, and providing the contingency contracting organization with required periodic performance oversight reports. DAU’s continuous learning module CLC 013, “Services Acquisition,” provides such basic training.


HNG procurement personnel from the headquarters to the regional/local levels should be trained in HNG procurement laws and regulations. Training programs may need to be established to expedite this, especially if there has been substantial recent turnover in HNG personnel. In addition, HNG logistics personnel who receive products from HNVs need to be trained to properly inspect, receive, store and distribute those products. A flawless procurement activity will be for naught if the products do not get to those who need them in good condition and in a timely manner.

Another important undertaking for the U.S. LA team may be the training of HNVs to properly respond to U.S. and HNG solicitations. The LA, contracting, comptroller and HNG organizations should develop and execute this training to HNVs together. The U.S. procurement rules and solicitation process may be substantially different than those of the HNG to which the HNVs are accustomed. In Afghanistan, at least three sessions were held for HNVs in 2009–2010 to introduce and train HNVs in how to properly respond to a U.S. contingency solicitation in order to elicit proper, responsive proposals.

HNVs also may need training on how to manufacture products to U.S. specifications and standards under U.S. contracts. This may enable them eventually to market those products outside the HN at competitive prices, but the immediate imperative is for them to make products to the required specifications in the specified timeframe. HNV workers may need to be trained in reading specifications and instructions for manufacturing and assembly; this may include training in basic HN language and manufacturing-quality concepts, especially in countries where literacy is low. Since translating documentation into the HN language usually is the vendors’ responsibility, training on reading U.S. specifications and DoD terminology also may be required.

NGOs and HN industry groups (if they exist) should be engaged in assessing the HN industrial base and assisting with training both HNG and HNV organizations and personnel. Where such groups cannot provide industrial base assessments and training, U.S. personnel may be able to reach back to organizations such as DAU, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support and Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center for support. According to DAU Directive 704 (May 23, 2012), “Foreign military and civilian employees of a foreign government must apply for DAU courses through their country’s training officer, who will coordinate the training request through the U.S. Army security assistance officer in the Office of Defense Cooperation or an appropriate official in the U.S. Embassy.” Such training usually is funded through an FMS case, which is processed by the U.S. Army Security Assistance Training Field Activity, the executive agent for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in those cases.

In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, DAU provided tailored acquisition training to Afghan government personnel via deployed professors before 2010. During my deployment, I also provided a short, tailored requirements development course to Afghan government personnel. DAU partnered with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) to bring a small group of Afghanistan National Army and Police personnel to the Philadelphia area in spring 2011 for tailored Production, Quality, and Manufacturing training. DCMA representatives then took the Afghan personnel on tours of U.S. defense production facilities.


The DOTmLPF-P construct usually is associated with the JCIDS requirements analysis activities and a DOTmLPF-P Change Request. I assert that it can be a useful tool in preparing for and analyzing an HN-first procurement strategy in a contingency nation-building environment such as the United States experienced over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I discuss each area of the DOTmLPF-P construct separately, they are actually interrelated and so interdependent that an HN-first procurement strategy cannot be successfully executed without applying the construct as a whole. However, to be sustainable, such procurements eventually have to be transitioned from the U.S.-coalition to the HNG.
In part 2 of this article, I will discuss the materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, and Facilities elements of the DOTmLPF-P construct.

To print a PDF copy of this article, click here.

Rhyne is a professor of systems engineering management at the Defense Acquisition University’s Capital and Northeast Region, Fort Belvoir, Va. He holds a master of science degree in international relations and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He is Level III certified in SPRDE Systems Engineering Management and Science and Technology Management, Level II in Program Management, and level I in Test and Evaluation. He was deployed to Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, as chief of local acquisitions from Feb. 20, 2010, to Feb. 13, 2011.

The author can be contacted at darren.rhyne@dau.mil.




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