• Education key for contracting certification

    Sgt. 1st Class Oswald Pascal graduated in December 2013 from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio where he received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences. He is in the process of accomplishing his remaining two classes to achieve his Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level II certification in contracting. (Photo by Daniel P. Elkins)

    By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs Office

     

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 12, 2014) — Entering the Army Acquisition Corps necessitates enlisted Soldiers to meet specific education and certification requirements outlined in federal statutes in order to execute contracts on behalf of the government and maintain readiness.

    Soldiers in the 51C military occupational specialty attached to the Mission and Installation Contracting Command arrive having completed training on the basic fundamentals of contracting before promptly entering a carefully mapped training regimen under the observant direction of a mentor.

    Helping steer their development is the MICC 51C Contingency Contracting Officer Rotational Training Plan and a proficiency guide that outline a structured approach and defines training guidelines and participant responsibilities. The plan charts training, education and experience requirements on a rotational schedule alongside MICC civilian professionals allowing uniformed members to gain experience and certification necessary in performing operational contract support in garrison and during contingency operations.

    “Attaching Soldiers to the MICC was a deliberate decision by the Army Contracting Command to broaden their proficiency in contracting while increasing readiness,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Bowens, the MICC command sergeant major. “Accomplishing the necessary steps in a timely manner to achieve appropriate certification is at the core of readiness. I cannot overstate the importance of this as a critical mission component.”

    The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, or DAWIA, sets forth core standards in acquisition and functional training as well as education and experience for contracting certification at three levels for both uniformed and civilian members in the workforce.

    Soldiers also have the opportunity to work toward certification by attending several in-resident courses to include the three-week Army Acquisition Foundation Course, four-week Army Basic Contracting Course and four-week Army Acquisition Intermediate Contracting Course in Huntsville, Ala., provided by the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence. The AACoE is a centralized training, education, and career development school for Army acquisition officers, noncommissioned officers, and Department of the Army civilians. The center integrates Army institutional training, education, and career development courses for the acquisition, logistics, and technology workforce.

    Earning certification
    Contracting experience essential for certification ranges from one year for DAWIA Level I certification to two years for Level II and four years for Level III. Eligible Soldiers and civilians may request to substitute a year of education for a year of experience when seeking their Level II and III certifications.

    Donna VanGilder is the chief of training and readiness for MICC Operations. She explained that the requirement for enlisted Soldiers to obtain certification is also coupled with their grade. Staff sergeants are required to obtain a minimum Level I certification; sergeants first class should attain their Level II certification; and those in the grade of master sergeant and above must achieve their Level III certification.

    Acquisition and functional training involve successfully completing multiple online and a few resident DAWIA courses in varied subjects to include contract planning, execution and management, cost and price analysis, contract structure and format, and Federal Acquisition Regulation fundamentals for basic certification. Intermediate courses explore legal considerations, source selection, managing government property, analyzing contract costs and negotiation. Advance certification training focuses on contracting for decision makers, construction contracting, cost accounting standards and acquisition law. Additional developmental training is also needed depending on the type of assignment and activity individuals represent.

    Perhaps proving most demanding for enlisted Soldiers in the 51C MOS is satisfying the education requirement, according to VanGilder.

    “A minimum education requirement of a bachelor’s degree in any field of study with at least 24 hours in business disciplines is required to obtain certification in the contracting career field,” she said.

    A threshold of certification is established by the office of the principle deputy to the Army acquisition executive. Civilian interns and officers enter the acquisition workforce already possessing the necessary education, and approximately 96 percent are certified or within the grace period of accomplishing their appropriate certification. VanGilder said approximately 34 percent of enlisted members have achieved their necessary certification level against a threshold of 94 percent.

    “Much of the delinquency is due to accomplishing the education requirement in time to obtain certification,” she said.

    While she anticipates that enlisted certification percentage to improve significantly in the next few months, is still falls below that necessary to ensure readiness.

    Key discriminator
    The decision to begin assessing uniformed members into the 51C contracting career field came about in late 2006 to meet the Army’s increasing need for contingency contracting officers. The integration of approximately 400 Soldiers to contracting offices throughout the MICC began in March 2013 as a means to streamline the span of control from oversight of uniformed service members stateside while enhancing their professional development.

    As the influx of enlisted Soldiers into the 51C MOS continues, education is becoming more of a discriminator due to certification requirements. This stipulation has become a key element in a competitive selection process to enter into the career field, according to career field officials.

    “NCOs are judged on a ‘total Soldier’ concept, with primary areas of emphasis consisting of completion of a bachelor’s degree and rated leadership time on an NCO evaluation report carrying the most significance,” said Master Sgt. Eric Sears, chief of the 51C Proponent NCO at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center.

    Sears added other factors influencing selection include total time in service and letters of recommendation. Applications are now being accepted through April 4 for the next 51C selection board with results to be announced in May.

    Demanding duty
    Entering the 51C MOS comes with the recognition that its demands are not limited to civilian education and DAWIA certification as Soldiers also must maintain all aspects of readiness.

    “It can be really difficult since they still have to take into consideration family commitments, soldiering tasks such as weapons qualification and physical training, deployments and contingency training exercises,” VanGilder said.

    Soldiers begin their training with simplified contract actions alongside civilian contracting professionals. Simplified actions include the acquisition of supplies and services, including minor construction, research and development, and commercial items not exceeding a threshold of $150,000. They then move on to more complex contracts until they become proficient in all procedures making up the contracting lifecycle from pre-award and award to administration, including closeout.

    “Technical, hands-on training is a critical component in developing contracting skills,” Bowens said, “but achieving all aspects required of certification is necessary to remain committed to the Army profession.”

    The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter at Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2013, the command executed more than 43,000 contract actions worth more than $5.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command has also managed more than 780,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions this fiscal year valued at an additional $880 million.

    Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles on the certification for contracting Soldiers. Following articles will highlight success stories and developmental benefits of obtaining certification.


    Read more »
  • USAASC announces October MOS 51C reclassification board results

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Nov. 18, 2013) – A total of 26 candidates were selected for reclassification as a result of the 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board held here October 21-22, 2013.

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

    “We had 106 applicants compete for the 26 positions and the competition was stiff,” said Cory Foster, contracting proponency officer.

    The number of selected applicants varies across each board and is dependent upon the accession needs of the Army at the time.

    “We expect to bring many NCOs by next September and we will hold boards every few months—there are plenty of opportunities to compete,” added Foster.

    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.

    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.

    Submission schedules and additional information are posted on the USAASC website.

    USAASC congratulates the following Soldiers for their selection:

    Sgt. Rafael Alameda-Pabon Sgt.(P) Jessie J. Jasnoch
    Staff Sgt. Edna Alcin-Wilson Sgt.(P) Latoya N. Jeffries
    Sgt. Nikkeyla D. Barbee Staff Sgt. Aja M. Lynch
    Staff Sgt. Steven Barva Sgt. Timothy McMillan
    Staff Sgt. Anthony D. Bryant Staff Sgt. Jacob Pankow
    Staff Sgt. Oscar F. Cano Sgt. William A. Phipps
    Staff Sgt. Joel M. Celona Sgt.(P) Julian D. Rhooms
    Sgt. Dextra D. Davis Sgt.(P) Jessica D. Salter
    Sgt. Tameka C. Flowers Staff Sgt. Michael L. Sapp
    Staff Sgt. Gregory Gunn Staff Sgt. Katrina R. Tolbert
    Sgt. Joshua J. Harris Staff Sgt. Jonathan G. Vallejo
    Sgt. Marvin E. Hopkins Staff Sgt. Antonio D. Woodson
    Staff Sgt. Michael J. Howen Sgt. Jacqueline M. Wright

     


    Read more »
  • USAASC announces contracting NCO reclassification board results

    Fort Belvoir, Va. (June 5, 2013) – Forty-nine candidates were selected for reclassification during the 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board here May 14-15.

    The board was administered by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) 51C Proponent Office.

    “This was an impressive group of candidates and the competition was tough,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Maneri, FA 51C Proponent Officer. The 49 selected NCOs represent the best of the best and we welcome them into the Army acquisition workforce.”

    The board’s purpose is to ensure the best qualified NCOs are selected for reclassification into Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 51C (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Contracting NCO)—a part of the Army acquisition, logistics and technology workforce.

    “We were impressed by the quality of the packets we received for the May board, said Master Sgt. Jason Pitts, Chief 51C Proponent NCO. “The word has spread that we only select best quality NCOs to enter the Acquisition Corps—in order to be selected, you need to be a proven leader with a solid foundation of civilian education; a total Soldier.”

    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.

    The 51C Proponent Office at USAASC would like to congratulate the following NCOs:

    Staff Sgt. Corey L. Anderson Sgt.(P) Alejandro Moreno
    Staff Sgt. Dan E. Bayan Staff Sgt. Tri B. Nguyen
    Staff Sgt. Jennifer L. Becker Staff Sgt. Kassandra N. Oldacre
    Staff Sgt. Jason W. Bufkin Staff Sgt. Thomas B. Parks
    Staff Sgt. Christopher C. Carbin Staff Sgt. Anthony K. Pylant
    Staff Sgt. Anuresh A. Chand Staff Sgt. Payten E. Redfearn
    Staff Sgt. Charles A. Cryoskie Staff Sgt. Patrick F. Reil
    Staff Sgt. Charles A. Desouza Staff Sgt. Tyler B. Sane
    Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Dickson Staff Sgt. Justin P. Sawicki
    Staff Sgt. Richard T. Dybdahl Staff Sgt. Brandon F. Searles
    Staff Sgt. Justin M. Fortado Staff Sgt. Jason D. Shettles
    Staff Sgt. Jennifer E. Franks Staff Sgt. Emilio G. Silvafigueroa
    Staff Sgt. Jennings B. Herbst Staff Sgt. Nathaniel J. Stone
    Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Hoover Staff Sgt. Adela Tacla
    Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Johnson Staff Sgt. Kyle G. Tate
    Staff Sgt.(P) Raina J. Jones Staff Sgt. Jerri A. Taylor
    Staff Sgt.(P) Ralph M. Jones Staff Sgt. Princessunique Thomas
    Staff Sgt. Patrick V. Kennison Staff Sgt. Charlee R. Thousand
    Staff Sgt.(P) Vincent M. LaHara Staff Sgt. John R. Tigue
    Staff Sgt. Mark D. Laity Staff Sgt.(P) Scott W. Voigt
    Staff Sgt. Ray Lee Jr. Staff Sgt. Daniel W. Wagner
    Staff Sgt. Bunnie K. Martinez Staff Sgt. (P) Daniel M. Wilson
    Staff Sgt. Raul Medina Staff Sgt. Mark C. Wirtz
    Staff Sgt. Thomas E. Misner Staff Sgt. Lymari Woodson
    Staff Sgt. Ikaisherron D. Wright

     
    There is one remaining reclassification board for this fiscal year scheduled for July 30-31. The deadline for packet submission is July 19.

    For more information on MOS 51C reclassification, visit http://asc.army.mil.

    Links:
    Click for MOS 51C reclassification instructions and FAQs.
     


    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.

    Read more »
  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Working to ensure mission readiness

     

    By Susan L. Follett and Tara A. Clements

     

    From logistician to contracting officer, Master Sgt. Perryman’s drive is fueled by her passion to take care of Soldiers—providing them what they need, when they need it to accomplish the mission at hand. With more than 23 years of service and experience with multiple deployments, this decorated senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) is now responsible for preparing the next generation of contracting officers to adapt to any mission they’re faced with at home and abroad. According to the Army Contracting Command senior enlisted advisor, Command Sergeant Major John L. Murray, “Perryman is a shining example of the caliber of professionals we have in the Army Acquisition Corps. She is deeply respected and a valued member of the team who always takes a personal interest to ensure Soldiers and Army civilians are prepared and resourced to do their job.”

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

    PERRYMAN: I am an acquisition, logistics and technology contracting noncommissioned officer (NCO (51C)) and senior enlisted advisor for the 918th CCB. As a contracting NCO, my work is important because I play a huge role in ensuring that warfighters receive the supplies and services they need to accomplish their missions. As the senior enlisted advisor, my duty is to train, coach, and mentor my NCOs and officers to ensure they are prepared physically and mentally for any mission.

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

    PERRYMAN: I reclassified from the logistics branch four years ago. While I was making great progress in my military career, I wanted more, and 51C offers great opportunities for advancement and good possibilities for a career as a civilian. My experience has been very challenging, especially the task of ensuring that Soldiers remain battle-ready while they settle into the 51C military occupational specialty (MOS).

    What surprised me the most is how much Soldiers rely on their leaders. They get their energy from us, and we need to keep that in mind as we train and mentor them. Knowing that their desire to be the best-of-the-best comes from us is surprising and humbling to me, and motivates me to give my all every day.

    FOTF: What is most rewarding about your job?

    PERRYMAN: Knowing that I’m taking care of my Soldiers. Even if it’s a little thing like getting new chairs for a conference room, I like seeing my work come to fruition, and I like hearing their feedback – even if it’s not always positive.

    FOTF: From your experience, what are the differences serving as a contracting NCO during deployment and non-deployment status?

    During a deployment, the workload is like a revolving door—it never stops, which is a great thing because the more you do, the better you get at it.

    In a non-deployment status, the workload does not compare to being deployed and there is an adjustment period from having a military supervisor to a civilian supervisor, but you’re still able to gain great experience if you want to learn and prepare yourself for life after the military—if contracting is part of your career path.

    FOTF: What was the most memorable item or service you contracted for during your time in Afghanistan?

    Master Sgt. Perryman congratulates Staff Sgt. Mansfield, one of her Soldiers, for earning the title of ‘NCO of the Year’ for the 918th Contingency Contracting Battalion’s first competition this March. Photo courtesy of Army Contracting Command Public Affairs.

    My most memorable item was the furniture I procured for the Camp Marmal dining facility during my deployment to Afghanistan. I remember walking in for breakfast and saw the new set- up for the first time; it was like being in a really nice restaurant. I was elated! Despite the situation we all were in at that moment, the dining facility was a place where Soldiers could take a minute to have conversations with others, watch AFN [Armed Forces Network], laugh out loud and feel a sense of peace for the thirty minutes that most spent during chow time. In my opinion, moments like that are priceless.

    FOTF: What would you say to a Soldier considering this MOS?

    If you are looking for a challenging and exciting MOS, reclassify to 51C. Be prepared to be open-minded, learn at a fast pace, work with civilians and set yourself up for a successful and bright future.

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

    PERRYMAN: I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two daughters, and I really enjoy fishing. It’s very relaxing, one thing that this job is not. While I really love my work, the operational tempo is pretty high and the hours are long. I appreciate the opportunity to relax when I can.

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

    PERRYMAN: I wanted to join the Army ever since I was a child. I loved the sense of safety it projected and the pride of the people who were affiliated with it. My mother encouraged me to pursue my dreams of joining the military, and she thought the Army would be good for me—she often mentioned that under different circumstances she would have joined herself.

    My greatest satisfaction is taking care of Soldiers. The Army gives me the unique opportunity to mentor and counsel Soldiers in all types of settings, those on my team as well as those who just need someone to listen or a word of encouragement. In addition to helping, at that moment I’m also setting an example for my family and Soldiers to follow.

    Links:
    • ACC website: www.acc.army.mil
    • Interested in 51C reclassification? Visit http://asc.army.mil. Two reclassification boards remain for FY13.


    • “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.

    Read more »
  • 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.”

    WORLDWIDE ASSIGNMENTS
    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.”

    ‘CHARLIE’ SENDS YOU TO SCHOOL
    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.

    GROWTH POTENTIAL
    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.”

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AND DO
    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.



    Read more »
  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Soldier makes a point of helping somebody every day

     

    By Teresa Mikulsky Purcell

     

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

    SAORRONO: : I am currently the 904th Contingency Contracting Battalion NCOIC at Fort Knox. My daily routine revolves around procuring supplies and services for a variety of customers, units and Soldiers that can range in number from 10 to 100. I’m also responsible for 51C, military contracting and classification training, where I teach individuals acquisition procedures and how to be a contracting officer representative. I also provide contingency contracting unit training. My job is important because I am constantly working to provide Soldiers with what they need, on time, so they can be successful in their different missions.

    FOTF: Tell us about an interesting experience you’ve had on the job.

    SAORRONO: When Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic Coast last year, we were called on to supply Fort Knox’s 19th Engineer Battalion with basic life support as they helped victims in New Jersey. The unit was already in New Jersey when we got the call to help. I immediately started making phone calls to anyone I could think of to find vendors who could supply water, portable toilets and showers, tents, cots to sleep on, the capability to serve hot meals, whatever was needed to sustain the Soldiers during their mission. I was able to quickly locate a vendor with the right capabilities who was already in place on the ground. I ended up driving to Fort Dix, N.J., to manage all of the acquisition needs closer to the field.

    FOTF: What were the challenges associated with this situation, and how did you overcome them?

    SAORRONO: The first challenge was negotiating a price with the vendor. We wanted to use him because he was already on location and had everything that was needed in place, but his price was too high. I quickly did my homework to find competitive pricing and pointed out that he was already there supporting the National Guard, so he did not have to incur any additional set up fees. I was able to negotiate with him to lower his price to meet our cost targets and save the Army some money.

    The greatest challenge, though, was trying to track down which organization was going to fund this activity. That could have been a showstopper, and we didn’t have the luxury of time for that. Working with the battalion, it took about an hour to track down their resource manager at Fort Riley, Kan., who was able to give us the information we needed. We had the contract and the money, so all we had to do then was execute. Within a few hours, the 19th Engineer Battalion had everything it needed. That was a good day’s work.

    FOTF: What’s the payoff for you in doing your job every day?

    SAORRONO: Soldiers have a mission to do. In this particular situation, they didn’t expect the mission, but they knew they had to go out and make it happen. They would have slept on the cold, wet ground without basic necessities if they had to in order to complete their mission. That’s where I came in. It was my job to get them what they needed. Unless you’ve been there, you don’t know what it’s like not to have basic life support while on a mission.

    When a Soldier comes up to me and thanks me for the hot meal or a warm shower, that’s all I need to keep going because I know I’ve helped a fellow Soldier. What motivates me every day is knowing that I’m going to go to work and help somebody. I love what I do.

    FOTF: What motivated you to join the Army, and were there any difficulties you faced as a result of your decision?

    SAORRONO: I grew up in a family full of men, cousins and an uncle, who were all in the military. As a child, I’d listen to them tell stories about their experiences in Vietnam, or what it was like to lose a friend in battle. I decided at an early age that I was going to be the first female in my family to join the Army. I wanted to serve my country, and when I finished high school, I enlisted. At that point, I never thought about college, I could think only of the military.

    The hardest part was leaving my home in Puerto Rico and going to the United States. I didn’t know English very well. I believe that if you want to do something, you have to find a way to overcome the challenges. I wanted to be a part of the Army, and I was determined to go forward with it. I studied English and did extra things at boot camp, like physical training and keeping my bunk clean, to make sure I was on the right path.

    FOTF: What key message would you like to share with others about life and the 51C acquisition career field?

    SAORRONO: Take one day at a time, and work to turn a bad day into a good one by learning from it and making it positive for someone else. Just because something was bad today doesn’t mean it will happen again tomorrow.

    The 51C military occupation specialty provides a good opportunity for your life after the military. It is helping me get my degree, and I plan to go on and earn a master’s degree. This will transfer well to the civilian world, where I can do the same thing to support Soldiers as a civilian employee. If your main goal is about taking care of the Soldier, this is the place to be.

    For more information on MOS 51C reclassification, visit http://asc.army.mil.


    • “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.

    Read more »
  • USAASC announces MOS 51C reclassification board results

    Tara Clements

     

    Fort Belvoir, Va. (March 18, 2013) – The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) convened a 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board, administered by the 51C Proponent Office, Feb. 26-27, 2013 at Fort Belvoir, Va.

    “This was a very competitive board and we received the largest number of applications than ever before,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Maneri, FA 51C Proponent Officer. “The selection rate was only 28 percent,” he said.

    Out of 182 candidates, 44 were selected for reclassification.

    The purpose of the board was to ensure the best qualified NCOs from across the Army were 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.

    “We have a great representation of different Army specialties among the selected candidates,” said Maneri. “Of the 44 selected, we have 28 military occupation specialties represented, with most coming from the Infantry,” he added.

    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.

    The USAASC 51C Proponent Office would like to congratulate the following NCOs on their selection:

    Staff Sgt. Reginald D. Alexander Staff Sgt. Shantae R. Jenkins
    Sgt. Ambrosio C. Alvarez Sgt. Catherine-Tehila O. Johnson
    Staff Sgt. Jenny G. Alvarez Staff Sgt. Zandrea J. Landor
    Staff Sgt. Lee J. Andrews Staff Sgt. Adriane L. Lewis
    Staff Sgt. Alfredo Avila Sgt. Parquette J. Magee
    Staff Sgt. Brandon L. Barber Staff Sgt. Ashly N. Martin
    Sgt. Cedric R. Belmont Sgt. 1st Class Mary E. Matthews
    Sgt. James P. Bradshaw Staff Sgt. Enes Memic
    Sgt. Richard A. Burns Staff Sgt. Sabriya F. Mitchell
    Staff Sgt. Jesse A. Campos Sgt. 1st Class Tamisha B. Patterson
    Sgt. Jene A. Carter Staff Sgt. Darius T. Porter
    Staff Sgt. Jenny A. Cisneros Staff Sgt. Johnathan D. Robbins
    Sgt. Arthur J. Dominguez Sgt. Steven T. Schoening
    Sgt. Mark H. Fitzgerald Staff Sgt. Orlando R. Serna
    Sgt. Francis S. Frenette Staff Sgt. Scott J. Smith
    Staff Sgt. Matthew F. Girard Staff Sgt. Richard J. Thorpe
    Sgt. Kailey A. Good-Hallahan Staff Sgt. Nicholas S. Tollett
    Staff Sgt. Gregory M. Hamilton Sgt. Brandon K. Wilkinson
    Sgt. 1st Class Chan D. Has Staff Sgt. Brian P. Williams
    Sgt. 1st Class Megan A. Hobbs Sgt. Tornita Williams
    Staff Sgt. Destin S. Howell Sgt. Ashley R. Woods
    Staff Sgt. Young C. Jang Sgt. William J. Yongue

     
    For more information on MOS 51C, visit http://asc.army.mil.
     


    Read more »
  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Tracking Career Development

     

    By Susan L. Follett

     

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

    FOSTER: I am part of the Acquisition Career Development Division, which has a mission to serve as advocates for the Army Acquisition Workforce on behalf of the Director/Deputy Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM/DDACM). Specifically, I am the Proponency Officer for Contracting, one of 14 acquisition career fields. I am responsible for writing and updating Army acquisition workforce policies and procedures. I also serve as the DACM/DDACM office principal advisor on all matters related to the Contracting Acquisition workforce. As of Dec. 31, 2012, our acquisition workforce includes roughly 8,800 contracting professionals, and I make sure that they have received the training required for certification under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA).

    I also support the Functional Area 51C Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Reclassification Board, providing an Order of Merit List to select best-qualified candidates to serve as Contracting Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs). Our efforts are important because they ensure we have qualified contracting personnel here and in theater so our Soldiers have access to the equipment they need for mission success.

    FOTF Editor’s Note: MOS 51C classification is an acquisition, logistics, and technology designation for contracting NCOs. It was established in 2006 to meet the Army’s increasing need for contingency contracting officers in the modular force. The primary mission for MOS 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early entry contingency contracting team.

    FOTF: What’s your biggest challenge? How is it overcome?

    FOSTER: One of my responsibilities is to represent the Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at Contracting Functional Integrated Product Team (FIPT) meetings, which are held quarterly, and to advise Contracting Functional Leaders on career field competencies, DAWIA requirements, and workforce development. Senior functional leaders designated by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology lead these FIPTs and discuss a variety of topics affecting the workforce. An example of a discussion topic might be whether to add classes to a certification requirement. Service and 4th Estate Agency DACM representatives as well as functional leaders attend the FIPTs as subject matter experts. My role is to ensure the Army DACM’s viewpoint is represented during these discussions.

    The biggest hurdle I face is making sure that I accurately represent the DACM’s point of view at FIPT meetings. It’s my job to ensure that all defense acquisition workforce initiatives and proponency issues are properly vetted, communicated, and addressed with our stakeholders and accurately communicated during the FIPT meetings. To ensure that happens, we hold weekly meetings within our organization to share information and discuss issues, and we closely follow DOD regulations to be sure we are up to speed on issues that affect our mission.

    FOTF: What do you enjoy most about your work?

    FOSTER: I really enjoy the opportunity to help Soldiers reclassify to MOS 51C. This is a very competitive field. The work is challenging and the promotion potential is good. To reclassify, NCOs need to meet a rigorous list of requirements, and to see that work pay off for them is very gratifying.

    FOTF: What do you do when you’re not at work? How do those activities dovetail with your job?

    FOSTER: I coach a junior varsity girls’ basketball team, and so far, we’re having a great season. Our record is 15-7. Both work and coaching involve a great deal of mentorship, and I really enjoy that aspect of it. On the court, I spend a lot of time mentoring my players, and at work we try to encourage Soldiers and civilians to get the most out of a career in Army acquisition.

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

    FOSTER: I became an Army Civilian because I wanted to contribute to the well-being of Soldiers. My greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army is the opportunity to impact the lives of others in a positive way.

    51C applications are being accepted throughout the year. For more information, please visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/active-component-reclass-program/.
     


    • “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.

    Read more »