NEWS | July 1, 2021

Profile in Professionalism: LS1 Douglas Ness

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Sippel and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Natalia Murillo

DJIBOUTI — Douglas Ness, of Brockton, Mass., refers to himself as a “unicorn,” because finding someone like him in his line of work is like finding a mythical creature — they simply don’t exist.
 
Ness serves the Department of Defense in more than one capacity. He actually serves in three.
 
First, in his current role, Logistics Specialist 1st Class Ness is deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), serving in the Supply Procurement department as the assistant installation accountable property officer. Camp Lemonnier, strategically located close to the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the south end of the Red Sea, is a key installation helping U.S., allied and partner nation forces maintain security in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.
 
When Ness is not deployed thousands of miles away on active duty orders, he is a Navy Reservist assigned to the Defense Contract Management Agency East office out of Manassas, Va. In his Reserve role, he trains contracting officers using his civilian experience.
 
In his last capacity of service, when Ness is simply “Doug,” he serves the Defense Department as an administrative contracting officer with DCMA. In his civilian role, he signs contracts and provides quality review for all branches of service, overseeing contractors’ payment, negotiations and contract terms.
 
According to his peers, it’s Ness’ unique combination of operational, Reserve and civilian contracting and logistics management, review and training experience that makes him “the unicorn.”
 
“Ness has been particularly valuable to the DCMA Reserve unit,” said Navy Cmdr. Justin Doster, DCMA East commanding officer. “First of all, he executes the unit mission as a warranted civilian with expertise. He has trained members of our unit to provide valuable operational support on his drill weekends. Local expertise is critical in contract support. With his help, the unit functions as an augmented support unit doing valuable work. To that end, we are more effective and more productive thanks to him.”
 
Overseeing millions of dollars of goods is not out of Ness’ realm. For example, he routinely oversees weekly inbound shipments of fresh food to CLDJ — shipments valued at over $250,000.
 
“As of right now, only Ness knows how to do the job of supervising and escorting the food stores from the flight line to the warehouse,” explains Chief Logistics Specialist Tiffany Sullivan, who works in Camp Lemonnier’s supply department. “The job takes a lot of patience and attention to detail. He does a great job with balancing all of his responsibilities. He wears many hats and is a vital member of the team.”
 
When not out on the flight line securing safe deliveries, Ness is responsible for reviewing the supply management of more than 20 offices at Camp Lemonnier. This can include anything from a stapler to a forklift.
 
“I was trained for many things,” said Ness. “The property inventory management book, for example, that’s a DCMA function. I had to go manage that here, at Camp Lemonnier, as an Alternate Installation Accountable Property Officer.”
 
While not a property book manager at DCMA, his knowledge of contracts related to the topic, and the performance work statement (PWS) document, allowed him to slide right in and support Camp Lemonnier in that capacity.
 
Leveraging his knowledge of contracts, Ness assisted with accounting for over 9,000 Information Technology (IT) items belonging to CLDJ tenant commands and operational offices on base. He went into every office, in every space, and counted every monitor and hard drive across the whole base — a monumental task. 
 
It’s a theme in the unicorn’s work patterns: he saves the people around him money.
 
“Resource accountability ultimately results in saving the government money by keeping track of what we have and seeing if it works properly,” said Ness.
 
He also set both his military and civilian teammates up for success by helping to establish procedures for those who will serve in the future. He values leaving a legacy of good work behind him.
 
“Ness’ predecessor left about a month before he arrived,” says Sullivan. “He will be able to train his replacement. This is a really big value to our department – and the entire camp.”
 
Each day, Ness proves himself a unique asset to the Navy and to DCMA. Offering an enlisted Sailor’s experience while working in the supply office, he provides unparalleled user knowledge and a unique view of logistics management. As a DCMA administrative officer, his assessment and review of final contracts provides a higher-angle view of the supply chain. 
 
Ness knows when contracts and players are in line and supported. Due to his familiarity with the entire supply process — from contract to end user delivery — Ness is an ideal trainer at the DCMA East Reserve Component. His current experience at Camp Lemonnier proves Ness can make major contributions to the team in a joint environment, setting everyone up for success.
 
“I’m a one of a kind,” says Ness, proudly. “I’m like that unicorn in the Navy. There are no enlisted warranted contracting officers. I am a ‘one of one.’”
 
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