Contractors traditionally are split into three categories: deployed systems contractors, external theater support contractors
, and internal theater support contractors
External theater support contractors provide in-theater support, during both peacetime and contingency operations, for contracts awarded under the command and procurement authority of agencies operating outside the theater of operations.
Theater support contractors provide assistance in the theater under contracts awarded by contracting personnel with the deployed forces, under the contracting authority of the theater contracting chief.
Theater support contractors
provide contracted goods and services to the deployed commander via contracts let through a deployed contracting agent.
Theater support contractors assist deployed operational forces under prearranged contracts through host-nation and regional businesses and vendors.
Since theater support contractors are used primarily for commodities purchase and traditional civilian roles, the nature of which has not changed, the focus of this discussion will be on external support contractors and system contractors.
A draft joint publication, including guidance on contractors in the theater, addresses some of the concerns and calls for integration of theater support contractors
directly into logistics plans and orders.