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It's Not Hollywood, It's Fort Hood
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Fort Hood

It’s not Hollywood, It’s Fort Hood.

A Colorado Springs firm won a $1million Army contract to provide actors to play Civilians on the Battlefield.

Somehow, I doubt the role players will have to be members of the actor’s guild.

Huckstep Holdings Corporation of Colorado Springs, Colorado won the award. The Army Contracting Command at Fort Hood handled the contract.

Huckstep Holdings is to provide a four-month interim contract to sustain role players (known as Civilians on the Battlefield (COB) support of the 120th Infantry Brigade at Fort Hood.

The service consists of providing all management, supervision, personnel, and all other items necessary to provide COB services for assigned Fort Hood Soldiers, other DoD and federal agency personnel in support of Theater Specific Individual Readiness Training (TSIRT), and pre-deployment collective unit training.

Civilians on the battlefield, of course, is a modern fact of warfare. Fort Hood, which has been conducting urban warfare training since the 1980s, built its first ruined city complete with sewers and narrow alleys and homes and businesses more than twenty years ago.  The official army designation has become COB (Civilians On The Battlefield).  The U.S. Army’s official position are that civilians are 1) a source of intelligence, 2) a threat to the mission, 3) an opportunity to show the U.S. resolve, 4) a cover for insurgents and 4) a target for insurgents.

Clothing for COBs are not expensive, conservative, and subject to damage.  The lettering, logos and graphics on the clothes cannot have anything that specifies or imples U.S. military or Americans in general.  One army tasking letter regarding COBs states that a local high school football jersey is prohibited, but “Nike on the other hand, would be allowed because it is internationally worn and recognized, and is not specific to the U.S.”

The total contract award amount  was $1,001,800.71.  The contract was not competitively bid, according to the U.S. Army award notice, because “there is only one responsible source due to a unique capability provided, and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.” 

The procurement was made with the “incumbent” Techwise Inc. of Colorado Springs.  According to Techwise’ website, Shawnee Huckstep is the chief executive and co-founder of TechWise, a Professional Services Company headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO.

“Beginning in 1994 as a two-person organization with her husband Arran, specializing in custom database development, TechWise is now a strong, 8(a) Woman-Owned, Small Disadvantaged Business with proven Program Management capability and robust infrastructure support for successful execution.”

Both Shawnee and Arran Huckstep are graduates of Baylor University. states that federal contracts awarded to Huckstep Holdings from 2000-2009 totaled $23.8 million.