By Sgt. Kerensa Hardy
First published in
SFOR Informer#112, May 3, 2001
In fiscal year 2000 alone, 48,000,000 KM was spent
on 4,000 actions toward providing goods and service for SFOR facilities.
If you want to know where the money went, it was most likely spent
by the Theatre Allied Contracting Office.
TACO provides contracting support to all SFOR facilities including
Zagreb, Banja Luka, Split and Doboj.
customers also include any concessionaires not operated by the
Morale and Welfare Activity or owned by individual countries.
There is one misconception about TACO - people shouldn't come
to them asking for funds. "We don't have any money, we spend
people's money," said US Air Force Capt. Michael Knipper,
chief of Construction and TRANSCOY Requirements section. "The
folks who need to buy something need to see their fund manager
first - they hold the purse string for the organisation."
TACO, which falls under CJ8, is made up of three sections: Services
and Commodities, Construction and TRANSCOY Requirements and Customs
The Services and Commodities branch handles Psychological Operations
and the Mine Information Co-ordination Cell. If the mine cell
needs dogs for de-mining operations or equipment, requests go
through this office.
All consumable commodities and utilities - water, electric and
gas - are also taken care of here. In short, just about everything
that isn't construction-related goes through Services and Commodities.
This section processes the most actions but brings in less money
than the other branches.
United States Air Force Capt. Todd Joyner heads this section and
works with five local civilians.
and TRANSCOY Requirements handles just what its title states.
Knipper and the three local civilian buyers run this branch.
TRANSCOY is the biggest customer of TACO. Everything associated
with TRANSCOY vehicles - fuel, repair and purchases - fits into
Although TACO's main goal is to provide SFOR with goods and services,
Knipper said it also provides theatre infrastructure improvement.
"We feed the warfighters, we give them shelter and we also
look to the future," he said. "This is what we envision
from the construction standpoint: one day when SFOR leaves, the
University of Sarajevo or another educational institution should
be able to come on this base and use every building that was built
"That's our mission - to walk away and leave a sound infrastructure
at Butmir (because) we will turn this property over to the city
once SFOR leaves and we want to leave something of value,"
Italian Warrant Officer Vito Luprano leads the last section -
Customs and Administration. A French sergeant and two local civilians
assist him. This office is responsible for all shipments of goods
in and out of BiH, contract payments, contact closets and database
At the head of these three branches is Jure Bevanda, chief of
TACO. He is a US citizen who speaks the local language.
These sections work hard to ensure customer satisfaction and it's
The success is contributed to what is considered TACO's most valuable
asset: the civilian employees.
only do they bring their contracting expertise and experience
to this region, but their knowledge of the companies in this area,"
Knipper said. "We come and go on three-, four- or six-month
rotations, we provide the military presence but the folks who
do the work are the civilians.
"They provide a lot of stability year in year out,"
While TACO satisfies its customers, that doesn't meant there aren't
any challenges, said US Air Force Maj. George Budz, theatre head
of contracting. "Most customers are military and come from
different countries," he said. "Each one has their own
way of doing business and their ways don't always comply with
Budz explained that this could be frustrating to those not accustomed
to working in a NATO environment. Everyone is used to doing things
the way they're done in his or her own country, so adjustments
have to be made.
In this type of operation, the constant rotation of personnel
poses another hardship, Budz said. "As soon as they understand
how the process works and it gets easy, they get replaced and
we start the whole process all over again - that's the most challenging
Ultimately, the customers are happy, Budz said. And that's the
most important part.
Related link: Miscellaneous