VINH CITY, Vietnam (July 19, 2012) Civilian Contract Officer Michaella Olson writes notes supporting Pacific Partnership 2012 at the main pier site at Vinh City. (Photo by Kristopher Radder)

VINH, Vietnam (July 19, 2012) - A Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) contracting officer engaged with people throughout the Asia-Pacific region by coordinating, contracting and working with local host nations and international agencies to assure logistical success efficiently.

Civilian Contracting Officer Michaella Olson worked closely with contractors from Vietnam and Indonesia to make sure PP12 personnel are able successfully fulfill the mission while balancing mission requirements and available funding.

“We are problem solvers,” Olson said. “That is what contracting officers do. People call me with their problems, and it is my job to make a solution. It isn’t always what they are looking for, but I still have to find a way to meet their requirements.”

Olson oversees supporting contracts for the Indonesia and Vietnam legs of PP12. These contracts include civil engineering materials, barges, transportation, pharmaceuticals, shipping, translators and more.

“I find the vendors and take action to make sure the customers from the mission get what they require,” she said.

Despite logistical hurdles and site locations that can be separated by hundreds of miles, Olson said there is never a dull moment in her job, especially being a part of PP12 and having the opportunity to travel to four countries during her six month deployment.

“If I didn’t have bills to pay, I tell everyone I would do it for free,” she said. “It takes a lot of coordination and the rules of the game can change, but I get to come out from behind my desk and work with amazing people on this humanitarian mission to make a difference.”

Olson works as part of a team year round to support the Pacific Partnership mission by consulting with vendors in host nations, gathering details for fiscal mission requirements and is the representative responsible for all contract negotiations.

Government civilian contracting officers are the only people authorised to spend appropriated tax dollars on missions, and Olson is one of two contracting officers supporting PP12.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.