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External support contract

Definition An External Support Contract, in military operations, refers to a contract between a military organization and a civilian company. The civilian company provides services or supplies that the military can’t generate on its own. These services may include maintenance, transportation, or other logistical functions. Key Takeaways An External Support Contract (ESC) is a type […]


An External Support Contract, in military operations, refers to a contract between a military organization and a civilian company. The civilian company provides services or supplies that the military can’t generate on its own. These services may include maintenance, transportation, or other logistical functions.

Key Takeaways

  1. An External Support Contract (ESC) is a type of agreement that allows a country’s military forces to secure goods, services, or works from a military industry or commercial supplier outside of their home nation. This allows for more efficient and wide-ranging operations in foreign territories.
  2. ESC is crucial in logistics management, especially in conducting overseas military missions, peacekeeping operations, and emergency responses where the country’s own resources may not be sufficient. These contracts can encompass transportation, maintenance services, communication systems, medical services and more.
  3. The use of External Support Contracts requires careful management to ensure security, cost-effectiveness, and compliance with both domestic and international laws. It also involves strategic planning and assessment to ensure that these services are delivered properly and meet the operational requirements of the military forces.


The term “External Support Contract” in military operations is important as it refers to a contractual agreement between a deploying military force and a non-military entity, usually a commercial organization or a host nation, to provide vital logistical, operational, and sustainment support during missions.

This may include services such as food, transportation, communication technology, medical aid, equipment maintenance, and other ancillary functions.

Such contracts ensure that the military personnel can focus on the core objective of the mission, while the non-combat operational issues are professionally managed.

Therefore, external support contracts greatly enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall success of military missions.


An external support contract, within the context of military operations, is a mechanism used to gain additional logistical or operational support from civilian or foreign entities. This approach broadens the scope of resources beyond what the military’s internal capabilities can provide. It may include a wide range of resources, from physical assets like supplies and equipment, to support services such as maintenance and repair, transportation, or even highly specialized technical expertise.

The objective is to ensure that the military personnel have their needs met, which enables them to focus solely on combat- or mission-specific tasks. The use of an external support contract can offer increased flexibility and efficiency, particularly during large-scale operations or complex missions. It allows military forces to operate in locations or under conditions that would otherwise be beyond their reach, and to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

For example, instead of having to transport and maintain all its own equipment, a military unit can contract local entities to provide and service these resources on-the-spot. However, the specific use of an external support contract can be as varied as the range of possible military operations, from humanitarian aid to peacekeeping missions to warfare. In all cases, the underlying purpose remains enhancing the military’s capability to achieve its objectives.

Examples of External support contract

External support contracts in military operations refer to agreements where goods, services, or utilities are provided by private, external, or foreign entities to support a military objective. Here are three examples:

Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP): This is a contract awarded by the U.S. Army to private companies to provide a broad range of logistical support services during war or contingency operations. Over the years, companies like KBR, DynCorp, and Fluor have been awarded this contract. These companies are responsible for a multitude of services including logistics, engineering, and construction work.

Defense Base Act Insurance (DBA): This is a contract between the U.S. Department of Defense and insurance providers. It mandates that all U.S. government contractors and subcontractors secure workers’ compensation insurance for their civilian employees working abroad. This ensures that civilian contractors injured in war zones would have access to compensation for medical care and disabilities.

Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) Contracts: ASFF is majorly funded by the U.S. and is managed by the Department of Defense. Contracts are given to private firms for training, equipping, and providing various types of support to the Afghan security forces with the aim of improving their capacity and infrastructure.

FAQs on External Support Contract

What is an External Support Contract?

An External Support Contract (ESC) is a type of contract used in military contexts, which involves support from entities outside of the military organization. This contract could cover a range of services and provisions such as logistics, training, maintenance, and others.

Why do military departments need External Support Contracts?

Military departments often resort to External Support Contracts to fill gaps in their capabilities, enhance existing operations, and introduce cost-saving measures while ensuring mission objectivities are met adequately.

What services can be included in an External Support Contract?

An External Support Contract could encompass a multitude of services, including tactical support, personnel training, logistics, equipment maintenance, supply chain management, technical consulting, and more.

Who can apply for these contracts?

Generally, authorized commercial entities with the necessary proficiency and resources to meet the specifications and requirements stipulated by the military operation can apply for External Support Contracts.

Are External Support Contracts subject to government regulations?

Yes, both the selection process and the execution of External Support Contracts are governed by specific regulations, which can include the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS).

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Contract Management
  • Service Delivery Agreement
  • Performance Metrics
  • Vendor Relations
  • Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

Sources for More Information

  • Department of Defense: This is the official website of the United States Department of Defense which oversees everything related to the country’s defense, including military operations and contracts.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): The official site of NATO, the international military alliance may provide insights and explanations about various military operation terms, including ‘External support contract’.
  • Ministry of Defence (UK): The official website of the UK’s Ministry of Defence. This source may provide information about ‘External support contract’ in a global context, especially considering the UK’s significant military presence worldwide.
  • RAND Corporation: RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure. Their research often involves topics related to military operations and could have information about ‘External support contract’.

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