Contingency Contracting Corps Program Guide (FAQ)

Select a topic below to see the related FAQs.



Requirements for Participation and Certification

Q: What are the requirements for participation?
A: Membership in the Corps is voluntary and open to all Federal employees and members of the Armed Forces who are members of the Federal acquisition workforce. There is a certification process for participating members.
Q: What specialized training or other requirements must you meet for certification?
A: Within 12 months of volunteering to join the Corps, a member must meet the following training requirements:
  • Emergency-specific training. FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers online courses on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) for all who may deploy during an emergency. FEMA also offers emergency-specific acquisition courses, which may be of particular value to contracting officers (COs). Some courses are classroom based; others are available as independent study. The following may be of particular interest for COs and other personnel involved in the acquisition process:
    • Disaster Contracting
    • Introduction to FEMA Office of Chief Counsel
    • Introduction to the Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS)
    • FEMA IS-100
    • FEMA IS-200
    • FEMA IS-700
    • FEMA IS-800
Additional information and sign-up procedures for these and other FEMA EMI courses are available on EMI's website.
Q: What is the nature of the commitment?
A: Participation in the Contingency Contracting Corps and member deployment are both voluntary. Deployment is typically for 30 days but may last longer.

General Readiness

Q: What do I need to do to at work and at home be ready to go at any time?
A: Disasters are not predictable, and Corps members may not have much time to prepare for deployment. It is important for Corps members to make sure that they are ready to mobilize on short notice.
To maintain a general level of readiness, a Corps member needs to make sure that he/she has the necessary documents for travel and deployment, as well as a Go-Kit containing essential items and supplies for performing his/her work in a disaster area. If the Corps member is unsure about how his/her agency will handle issues related to payroll and timekeeping, he/she should seek out the information. He/she should also have plans in place for covering his/her personal obligations such as paying bills and taking care of pets.
Reference Checklist A to see a list of things a Corps member should always have to maintain general readiness.

Deployment Process and Procedures

Q: What is the process for activating the Corps and deploying its members?
A: When an emergency arises and the lead agency has exhausted its own cadre of trained contract specialists, the lead agency can make a request to the Director of OMB to activate the government-side Contingency Contracting Corps. GSA will then contact Corps members to identify those who are available for deployment.
Q. How will I be notified that I am needed?
A: As soon as the Contingency Contracting Corps is activated, GSA will place standby calls to you to determine if you are willing to be deployed. Your home agency will also be notified that you have been contacted. If both you and your supervisor concur to deployment, your name will be forwarded to the lead agency. Depending on the need, the lead agency may place a second call – an official call – to deploy you and to provide you with specific information about the assignment.
Q. What do I need to find out about a specific deployment?
A: In the official call for deployment, the lead agency will provide information on where and when you are going, who you should contact when you arrive at the field, how you are traveling to the field, etc. You need to make sure that you have all the critical information and directions so that you know exactly what to do next. Reference Checklist B at the top of the page to see a list of things that you must record from the official call for deployment from the lead agency. You should have Checklist B handy while you wait for the official call.
Q. What should I do when I am called?
A: When you receive the standby call, you need to identify whether you will be available for deployment. You should also check in with you supervisor to see if he/she consents to your deployment, and to make sure that you are clear on how issues related to payroll and timekeeping will be handled. You should go through Checklist A to make sure that you have everything in place for you to leave at a moment’s notice. You should also have Checklist B ready for the official call.
When you receive the official call, you should use Checklist B to record all the critical information about the assignment. As soon as you have received the official call, you should contact the travel agency right away to make reservations. You should also get directions to your destination and find out about the per diem. Details on what you should do right after the official call is also included in Checklist B.

Administrative Matters

Q. How will I be paid?
A: As a Corps member, if you are deployed, your agency is responsible for your normal day-to-day pay. The lead agency will reimburse your agency for any overtime you work while you are deployed. Civilian corps members are to be paid out of funds available to the employing agency while those of members of the Armed Forces will be paid out of funds available to the Armed Forces concerned.
Q. Who will make arrangements for travel, lodging, and equipment?
A: If you are deployed to the field, the lead agency is responsible for the logistical requirements of your deployment. This includes, but is not limited to, work stations, computers and electronic communications equipment, food, lodging, and transportation to and from the field.
Q: How will I handle travel costs and other expenses while I am deployed?
A: The lead agency is responsible for paying your expenses while you are deployed. Each agency will have its own procedures and processes to do this. As an example, if FEMA is the lead agency, you will use your Government travel card.
Q. How will I account for my time?
A: Timekeeping practices may vary from one agency to another. You should clarify timekeeping requirements and practices with your home agency and the lead agency before you depart.

Procedures to Follow When You Arrive On-site

Q. What should I do first when I get to the field?
A: As soon as you get to the field, you should report to the Joint Field Office (JFO) and check in with your on-site supervisor. You should expect to attend to a number of logistical and administrative matters such as obtaining equipment, network access, and other pertinent information about the operation.
Q. What else should I do when I get to the site to get ramped up for my assignment?
A: Since you will need to hit the ground running, one of the top priorities as you as you arrive on- site is to quickly familiarize yourself with the templates that the lead agency uses and the file system. Reference Checklist C at the top of the page to see a list of to-do items to help you get started when you arrive at the field.

Personal Logistics During Your Stay On-site

Q: What type of schedule and working hours should I expect?
A: Since the Corps is activated in times of severe emergencies, there is a good possibility of extended work hours, including evenings and weekends, so flexibility is required on the part of Corps members. However, you can expect regular R&R. Even though the Corps may be working during the recovery phase of an operation, you will be expected to hit the ground running.
Q: What do I need to do if my contact information changes?
A: It is important for your on-site supervisor to be able to reach you at all times. Therefore, you should update your program manager if there are any changes in your status, contact information, etc.
Q: What should I do in my free time?
A: During deployment, you may have to work extended hours and perform your work in an environment that can sometimes be challenging physically and emotionally. It is therefore important to make sure that you get enough rest, and get regular exercise to maintain your well-being while you stay on-site.

Keys to Success

Q: What can I do to contribute to the success of the overall operation?
A: Since government-wide emergency contracting efforts often involve a large number of rotating individuals from various agencies, it is paramount that you follow the documentation requirements established by the lead agency. It is also important for you to keep a clear and complete record of all the work you have done to ensure the continuity of the contracting effort and to facilitate smooth transitions during handovers.
Q. What resources are available to support me?
A: Three checklists on General Readiness, Critical Information for Contingency Contracting Assignment, and On-site Procedures have been created to help you at various points in the process. You can access the checklists via the links at the top of the page.
You can also share information with, and get ideas from, other emergency contracting specialists at the community of practice. Visit the Community of Practice at the top of the page to access the website.

Returning Home

Q. How will I resume my personal and professional life after deployment?
A: While emergency contracting assignments often require corps members to work in unfamiliar and sometimes difficult circumstances, re-entering one’s normal routines after deployment may present its own unique set of challenges. Those who have been deployed to the field often find the experience life-changing. However, family members and co-workers may display different reactions, ranging from apathy and resentment to interest and admiration. As you return, you should be prepared that the period of adjustment may last a while, and allow yourself time to ease into your normal routines.