• USAASC announces July MOS 51C reclassification board results

    By Tara Clements

    Fort Belvoir, Va. – A total of 36 candidates were selected for reclassification as a result of the 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board held July 30-31, 2013 here.

    The final board for the fiscal year was convened by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) and administered by the 51C Proponent Office.

    “It was a privilege to oversee the final board for the year,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Burris, commander of the 905th Contingency Contracting Battalion. “The candidates were highly qualified making for an extremely competitive selection process for the board members.  On behalf of the board, congratulations to our newest 51C NCOs!”

    The overall selection rate for FY13 candidates was 29 percent, of which, 92 percent have less than 10 years of time in service.  All selectees have some college education with 36 percent holding college degrees and 43 percent with 61 or more college credit hours.

    The purpose of the board is to ensure the best qualified NCOs from across the Army are selected for reclassification into military occupational specialty (MOS) 51C, an Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Contracting NCO, which is part of the Army Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Workforce.

    This board has particular meaning for Master Sgt. Jason Pitts, chief 51C proponent NCO, who has participated in all 12 boards and is transitioning out of his current position, marking this as his final one.

    “I’ve had the privilege of recruiting and assessing some of the Army’s best NCOs into a new career field,” said Pitts.  “Serving as a contracting NCO requires the skills of the ‘total Soldier’—someone with outstanding leadership skills, education and performance that sets them apart from their peers.  I’m proud that we’ve accomplished our mission this year and am confident that this group of professionals will do great things for the workforce,” he said.

    The primary mission for 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early entry module contingency contracting team. When not deployed, selected NCOs will serve as contingency contracting officers in support of a headquarters, principal assistant responsible for contracting, contracting support brigades, contingency contracting battalions, and/or installation contracting offices for training and mission support.

    USAASC congratulates the following Soldiers for their selection:

    Sgt. Kevin D. Brown Staff Sgt. Judith A. Lommer
    Staff Sgt. Chiffon T. Canty Staff Sgt. Jonathan Love
    Sgt. Dorian N. Christian Sgt. KeAndre D. Malone
    Sgt. (P) Mark D. Cooley Sgt. Michael J. McCollum
    Sgt. Sara L. Craig Staff Sgt. Ricardo J. Perilla
    Sgt. Angel Del Valle Arroyo Sgt. (P) Steven R. Rocha
    Sgt. Reonel T. Delacruz Staff Sgt. Shane A. Sapp
    Sgt. Justin R. Deschaine Sgt. Jermaine T. Sharples
    Staff Sgt. Armando Dominguez Jr. Sgt. Robert L. Shedrick
    Sgt. Michael D. Floore Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Spinazzola
    Staff Sgt. Richard L. Green Sgt. James D. Sprigler
    Staff Sgt. Kendall J. Haynie Staff Sgt. Armando J. Torres
    Staff Sgt. Paul M. Hernandez Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Warren
    Sgt. Herbert E. Hernandez-Gonzalez, Sgt. Anthony L. Washington
    Sgt. (P) Stephen G. Holzworth Sgt. Gus W. Wessels
    Sgt. Vanity O. Johnson Sgt. Christopher J. West
    Staff Sgt. Paul A. Kenny Staff Sgt. Shatrice L. Willoughby
    Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Lipinski Staff Sgt. Jeremy L. Zelbst

    Have questions on what it takes to reclassify and what the career track is like? For Soldiers interested in a career change to MOS 51C, USAASC will be hosting a TweetChat on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 from noon to 1 p.m. Details are provided below.

    • What: MOS 51C TweetChat
    • When: Tuesday, August 27 from 1200 – 1300 Eastern Time
    • Who:  Get all of your questions answered directly from the USAASC Chief 51C Proponent NCO
    • Where: www.twitter.com.  Use #51C to join the chat.
    • How: Follow @USAASC via Twitter.  Starting at noon next Tuesday, send your tweet using #51C

    Visit the MOS 51C reclassification web page for more information on how to apply.
    Interested in what 51C all about?  Find out.
    Who is a contracting NCO?  Read personal stories of current contracting NCOs:
    Master Sgt. Julie Saorrono
    Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kahyai
    Master Sgt. Cynthia Perryman

    Read more »
  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Educating future acquisition leaders


    By Steve Stark


    FOTF editor’s note: Sgt. 1st Class (P) Michael Kahyai (rhymes with “Aye aye”) said that his most rewarding mission during his time in the Army Acquisition Corps was participating in Natural Fire 10 in Kitgum, Uganda. That exercise, led by U.S. Army Africa Command, involved nearly a thousand African troops from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda working with hundreds of American Soldiers to improve interoperability. “It was great. It was a good mission to be part of. We were interacting with all the other nations.”

    Kahyai said that not long before the exercise, the Lord’s Resistance Army had been through that part of Uganda, “and raped and pillaged, so you still had camps of people who were displaced because of [Joseph Kony] and they were living in poverty, and when they saw people in uniform, they were a little bit scared at first.”

    That was before Kahyai was selected to become an instructor. “SFC Kahyai was hand-selected to serve at MRAC because he represents the best 51C NCO the Army has to offer,” said Master Sgt. Jason Pitts, 51C proponent at USAASC. “He is definitely the best qualified for this important job.” Kahyai “belongs to” USAASC as the senior Army instructor and liaison at MRAC.

    Kahyai said that his most meaningful day in the Army came when he was a recruiter. He went to pick up a young man he had recruited to “take him to processing, and he was sleeping on a bench outside his apartment, and I saw him when I pulled up. I asked him whether he was waiting for me or if he slept out there and he said he had slept there. When I asked him why, he said his apartment was so infested with fleas, it was just better for him to sleep outside.

    “Making a difference like that, knowing that no matter what job he picked in the Army was going to be better than that, that was a good feeling.”

    FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?

    KAHYAI: I am an instructor at the contracting apprentice course, and I’m responsible for teaching Airmen and Soldiers how to become contracting professionals. I teach at the Mission-Ready Contracting Apprentice Course (MRAC) at Lackland Air Force Base. It’s an Air Force location, but there’s a memorandum of agreement in place where we can send 65 Army students in to get contracting training. The way the course is structured is that the only people who come here are enlisted Army and Air Force, and we’re putting through about 350 to 400 students a year, of which 65 are Army. They’re spread out, and so in each class of 12 there is usually one or as many as three Army and the rest will be Air Force students.

    I’m just another instructor in the queue, so when I pick up a class, there may be Army students in it, but some of the Army students who come through, obviously, are not going to get me as an instructor. But I still will fill the role as the liaison for all their Army needs. I’m the face of the Army here, along with Sgt. 1st Class Mark Reynolds, who’s leaving. This is an Air Force schoolhouse, and there is no other Army representation other than the instructors and the students that come through MRAC.

    The typical hours I’m here are seven to five, but in addition to instructing I’m the liaison for the Army even if they’re in other classes. I have to make sure they’re being taken care of the entire eight weeks that they are here, and I also have do all of their Service School Academic Evaluation Reports DA 1059s. So we’re not only the face of the Army, we’re specifically the face of Army contracting here.

    FOTF: What has your experience been like? What has surprised you the most?

    KAHYAI: When I was in my prior job, it was mentioned to me that there was a new MOS [the 51C military occupational specialty] in the Army and they were promoting people. I had been a staff sergeant for 10 years in a job that clearly wasn’t going anywhere, and I was looking for some career advancement, as well as something that would give me some skills outside the Army. I applied and was accessed into the field in 2008.

    FOTF: What is most rewarding about your job?

    KAHYAI: Aside from teaching the next generation of acquisition professionals, the best thing about my job is having an actual career path that to pursue after the military. The training and skills we get are 100 percent transferable to being a civilian afterward. There’s a lot of jobs in the Army that, when you’re finished with the military, you’re looking for another career where you hope something crosses over. For contracting, it definitely offers you a future after the Army.

    FOTF: What do you do when you’re not at work?

    KAHYAI: The only thing I do other than work and family is golf. For four hours every week I have no worries in the world. I have a wife, a four-year-old daughter and another one on the way, and I’m not trying to get away from the family thing—it’s just a moment of peace when I am on the golf course.

    FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?

    KAHYAI: I joined the Army in 1993 to do something different and exciting. My greatest satisfaction was being selected for Sergeant First Class, and now Master Sergeant. I feel that being recognized for my achievements and rewarded with promotions has been a validation of my 20-year career.

    For more information on MOS 51C go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/active-component-reclass-program/.

    Related article: http://asc.army.mil/web/?s=NCOs%2C+Meet+Charlie%2C+the+MOS+with+the+Most

    • “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.

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  • NCOs, Meet Charlie, the MOS with the Most

    MOS 51C offers NCOs what may just be the best opportunity in the Army


    By Steve Stark


    There’s more than meets the eye in the world of contracting and “Charlie” has a lot to offer. The Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) 51C classification trains noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to be contracting professionals, provides significant career and educational opportunities, and is one of the few areas of the Army that is expected to grow in the near term. But for Master Sgt. Jason Pitts, the thing that really caught his eye was a map.

    Specifically, it was the chart of all the missions that 51C supported. The chart, he said, showed “where contracting guys were, whether it was Australia, Japan, Mongolia—and to me that was like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome. I can go see all these cool places and still support the warfighter and make an impact?’ That was the ‘aha moment,’ ” said Pitts, chief proponent NCO for MOS 51C at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), the proponent for 51C reclassification and the agency responsible for ensuring a trained and ready contracting NCO corps.

    Pitts said that the variety of things a contracting NCO could do, and the variety of places the NCO could go to do them, piqued his interest because “a lot of guys get stuck in the same experiences over and over again. You go to unit, you go to the National Training Center [Fort Irwin, Calif.] or the Joint Readiness Training Center [Fort Polk, La.] and you prepare. You go to gunnery, you prepare. You go to Afghanistan. You come back a year later, and you start it all again.” For Pitts, the option of doing something that was vital to Soldiers, but that also got him out of that routine, looked like a winner. “The contracting command was in 49 different countries last year, doing 86 different missions supporting the warfighter,” he said.

    “The NCOs in this MOS come from all branches of the Army which enables them to understand the unique requirements of a specific unit.”

    The NCO contracting corps offers a promising career path and is ripe with opportunity to serve in a variety of locations.

    “Opportunities are endless,” said Command Sgt. Maj. John L. Murray of U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC). “After completing the basic contracting course, NCOs are assigned to a contracting office where they first focus on becoming proficient in simplified acquisitions and are then able to progress and hold positions starting as a contingency contracting NCO all the way to the rank of command sergeant major.” Murray is the ACC command sergeant major and advises the ACC commanding general on all enlisted‐related matters, particularly in areas affecting Soldier training and quality of life.
    And those positions are in a variety of locations worldwide.

    “NCOs can get assigned across the globe supporting contingency, humanitarian, and disaster relief operations. Today we have NCOs assigned and deployed to locations such as Italy, Germany, Korea, South America, Africa, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Korea, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and every installation in the continental United States,” said Murray.

    MOS 51C NCOs have the vital job of not only providing procurement support for anything a unit might need; but also serving the commander as a business advisor—ensuring they get what’s needed, on time, to support the mission.

    “The NCOs in this MOS come from all branches of the Army which enables them to understand the unique requirements of a specific unit,” said Murray. “They are never at rest, they are always supporting real-world, real-time operational and installation support; where if they don’t get it right the mission fails. It is a great MOS to be in if you are a high energy, multifunctional, adaptive, and the utmost Army professional.”

    Sometimes it’s not only the big ticket items that really add value. “A road construction contract to add IED [improvised explosive device] training lanes to a downrange installation,” would not be a large dollar-value contract, Pitts said. But it could enable units to “go through these really high-speed IED training lanes so that they were better prepared for their mission when they deployed.” Not a lot of money in the big picture, but such a contract “really improves the entire brigade’s training before they prepare for combat. That’s a good example of things a contracting guy can do to help support a brigade.”

    While the “aha” moment for Pitts was travel and variety, for other NCOs, Pitts said, it’s the educational opportunities offered by a 51C MOS. “They say, ‘Wow, in my current MOS, the push for education isn’t there,’ ” and when they learn that, in the 51C MOS, their officers are going to expect them to get a bachelor’s and become a certified professional, that excites them.”

    “The contracting command was in 49 different countries last year, doing 86 different missions supporting the warfighter.”

    MOS 51C is a career field established in December 2006 to meet the Army’s continuously increasing need for contingency contracting officers, and is viewed as a critical asset. The Army is currently recruiting NCOs, in both the active and reserve components, who are interested in reclassifying to MOS 51C and meet the requirements. Candidates selected for reclassification not only learn a new craft, but also, through the training, education, and professional development aspects of the MOS, gain valuable transferrable skills.

    “Soldiers want to be valued,” he continued. “They want to feel like they’re doing something important.” The 51C MOS enables that.

    The education benefits are excellent, but the expectations are also high—by law, the NCO must earn a B.A. in 24 months—and the workload can be demanding, but there is support from the USAASC 51C MOS Proponent Office.

    “The majority of our NCOs work in the daytime, learning contracting, writing contracts with the government—that’s their craft—and at night they have to go to school online,” Pitts said.

    Murray agreed that the potential for training is significant. “Training opportunities for a 51C NCO exceed those of other military occupational specialties in the Army,” he said. “The norm is for 51C NCOs to complete college courses and mandated contracting courses through the Defense Acquisition University as part of their daily battle rhythm.”

    “Thirty percent of the NCOs we select already have their degree,” Pitts added. “The remaining 70 percent are required to get their degree—either a bachelor’s in business or a degree that affords them 24 hours in business. We have degree completion programs to help them do it. We send some NCOs to school full-time for 12 months to finish their bachelor’s degree. That way they can achieve contracting certification and then come back to the workforce.”

    Generally, the most competitive candidates selected for reclassification have at least 60 hours of college credit.

    USAASC also has an acquisition tuition assistance program that pays an additional $7,750 a year for our NCOs to go to school, Pitts said. That additional $7,750 is exclusive to the 51C program.

    Editor’s Note: The tuition assistance program is temporarily on hold due to current budget constraints.

    In addition to a bachelor’s degree, MOS 51C NCOs will receive the same training opportunities in the contracting field that are available to the Army’s acquisition officers and civilians. Active component Soldiers will attend the Mission Ready Airman Contracting Apprentice Course, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, or the Army Acquisition Basic Course, Army Acquisition Center of Excellence, Huntsville, Ala. Reserve component Soldiers will take courses through Defense Acquisition University distance learning.

    The 51C MOS is one of the few in the Army that’s projected to grow over the next few years, with the USAASC looking to add approximately 150 new NCOs to its workforce by October.“One thing a decade of war has taught the Army,” Pitts said, “is that contracting is a vital skill, and you cannot conduct anything in the Army without it.”

    Murray agreed. “It is one of the few military occupational specialties that is still growing to fill its authorizations as the rest of the Army is downsizing.”

    For the Army, it’s crucial to have NCOs as a part of its acquisition workforce, because the NCO adds another dimension, another perspective to the workforce. Part of that is the credibility that NCOs have with Soldiers. “Because I knew the business,” Pitts said, “I found it easier to help support them. I found the warfighter identified with me because I shared their experiences. I wasn’t just some guy.”

    “NCOs can get assigned across the globe supporting contingency, humanitarian, and disaster relief operations.”

    The accession process is competitive but rewarding. Applicants must be in the ranks of sergeant, staff sergeant, or sergeant first class with less than 10 years of service. Those with 10-13 years of service may request waivers.

    “Soldiers must be deployable worldwide, able to operate in a deployed environment wearing a full complement of personal protective equipment, have no financial hardships or indicators of insolvency, and have no record of information which might adversely reflect against the character, honesty, or integrity of the Soldier,” said Murray.

    Soldiers selected for the 51C MOS may qualify for a $2,000 transfer bonus. “NCOs already in the 51C MOS are being offered a reenlistment bonus up to $22,500 because contracting is so important to the Army’s mission,” Pitts said. Except it’s not really necessary. “Right now our people are staying in. It’s a great job.”

    There are two more boards of selection this year, in May and July. Packets received now through April 26, 2013 are eligible for the May selection board. Those packets received April 27 – July 19, 2013 will be reviewed during the late July board. All board results are generally released 30 days following the board and are posted to the USAASC Web site and emailed individually.

    For specific deadlines, dates and packet submission instructions, visit http://asc.army.mil.

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  • Active Component Reclassification Program

    Process | Dates | Board Results | Prerequisites

    View current packet submission deadlines and board dates.


    Thank you for your interest in the 51C MOS. We are now accepting packets for the April 22-23, 2014 reclassification board. All packets must be received no later than 1 p.m. EST, April 4, 2014. Packets will only be accepted through our online virtual board system using the reclassification process outlined below.

    Reclassification Process

    Step 1

    The Soldier prepares a reclassification application through the 51C Virtual Board. All first-time applicants must click the sign-up link to establish a username and password before continuing to the application page.
    NOTE: If the Soldier will have more than ten years time in service (TIS) by the next board date, a TIS waiver is required. Thirteen or more years TIS disqualifies a Soldier’s eligibility to apply..

    Step 2

    To complete the application process, all documents must digitally scanned and submitted as SEPARATE attachments via one encrypted e-mail to the following e-mail address: usarmy.belvoir.usaasc.mbx.usaasc-fa51-cmf51@mail.mil.

    Packets that contain attachments as one file will not be accepted. Each attachment must be in an Adobe PDF format and all information must be legible. Example documentation is provided in the next section. The Soldier will receive a confirmation email from the 51C Proponency team when the application and emailed documentation has been received and validated.

    Step 3

    All Soldiers will be notified by email regarding approval or disapproval status 30 days following the conclusion of each review board. Board results are posted on the USAASC website.

    Step 4

    Upon acceptance as a 51C, Soldiers will be scheduled for reclassification training and a follow-on assignment. The award of the MOS will be completed after successful completion of training.

    MOS 51C Reclassification Instructions and Example Documentation:

    51C Frequently Asked Questions:

    The MOS Award requirements include:

    The MOS 51C will only be awarded to Soldiers through the MOS reclassification process.

    Step 1

    Approval/selection for reclassification and assignment to Contracting training and assignment.

    Step 2

    (Reserve Component) NCOs selected for 51C Reclassification Training will complete via Distance Learning Defense Acquisition University courses in contracting: CON 110 Mission Support Planning, CON 111 Mission Planning Execution, CON 112 Mission Performance Assessment.

    For Active Duty Soldiers no action is required by the local installation, the MOS will be top loaded by the HRC Reclassification Branch upon completion of required training.

    Additional Information:

    Interested in what 51C all about? Find out.
    What’s it like to be a 51C? Read personal stories of current contracting NCOs:


    Please visit our POC page.

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