Larry D. Mccaskill
FORT BLISS, Texas – The more than 380 cadre and trainees at the Army Contracting Command Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise 2013 were all eyes and ears as Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general, spoke on the merits and importance of the JCRX training Jan. 24.
After passing out JCRX Gold Eagle Hero of the Day awards, Nichols thanked the exercise planners.
“I just want to thank the 412th Contracting Support Brigade and everyone involved in putting this together,” she said. “They have ensured that this will be the most professional event that we could put on given our resources and our expertise and I have to tell you it’s phenomenal.”
Not to be left out, the general also thanked and provided advice to the almost 200 trainees in the audience.
“Thank you for being here. This is real stuff in a very low threat, low risk environment,” Nichols said. “It’s an opportunity to hone your craft a little bit. It’s an opportunity to look to your left and to your right and meet a new contract buddy, a contract warrior as I would say.”
The commanding general said it’s relationships created in training environments that go a long way toward mission accomplishment when deployed.
“When you see them again, you’ll know some of what training they received, their background and their focus,” she said. “Then you can have an immediate comfort in that they are in the same zone as you are because they have been through some of the same training and background.”
Nichols said she believes that during the training sessions, the contracting officers will benefit the most from hearing directly from the person or organization they will be supporting.
“The experience here today will help you get your arms around it,” she said. “During the training, the kinds of contract actions you will work on are literally happening by the hundreds in Afghanistan each and every day.”
Nichols said the civilians attending the training as mentors will benefit by gaining an understanding of how important they are in their careers as military contracting professionals.
“As we get more and more Soldiers integrated across our command, whether it’s in a contracting center or in a Mission and Installation Contracting Command office, it is important that these seasoned civilians ask what do they need to know in order to adequately mentor the Soldiers in their offices and how can I help them be more successful,” Nichols said.
“Part of the answer is to focus on their training, certainly their initial entry training and then their maturation and competency level as they grow. This is a win-win for everyone involved in it.”
ACC public affairs
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Contracting professionals will begin to converge onto Fort Bliss, Texas, starting Jan. 15 to participate in what military officials are calling the premiere Department of Defense contracting readiness exercise.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Army Contracting Command is conducting a contracting readiness exercise for military and civilian personnel. Formerly called Joint Dawn, the Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise or JCRX-13 will be conducted at Fort Bliss Jan. 15-31.
“We’re expanding the scope of this year’s training,” said Col. Timothy Strange, commander, 412th Contracting Support Brigade, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Participants can look forward to working on more than 100 contracting actions, not to mention some hard-to-handle injects.”
The 412th is the lead organizer for the exercise.
The number of exercise participants has increased each year. In 2010, 34 contingency contracting officers attended the training held at Fort Riley, Kan.; in 2011, training at Fort Campbell, Ky., included 115 participants; and the 2012 training at Fort Bliss had 159 military and civilian trainees. Exercise coordinators expect more than 200 participants at this year’s exercise.
“We’re anticipating visits from a lot of senior leaders,” said Lt. Col. Joshua R. Burris, commander, 905th Contingency Contracting Battalion, and JCRX-13 officer-in-charge.
“We’re set up to handle visits from senior DOD and DA officials. Last year, Mr. (Kim) Denver, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (procurement); and Rear Adm. Allie Coetzee, executive director, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (acquisition and procurement), came by. This year we’re planning visits from the Hon. Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army acquisition, logistics and technology and Army acquisition executive; the Hon. Dr. Sally Matiella, assistant secretary of the Army financial management and comptroller; and Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, deputy commanding general, Army Materiel Command.”
Edward G Worley
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.–In an effort to streamline command and control of its military contracting Soldiers, the Army Contracting Command is attaching portions of its Expeditionary Contracting Command forces to several of ACC’s stateside organizations.
The action reduces the ECC span of control from the day-to-day oversight of Soldiers executing their stateside contracting mission, allowing the ECC commander to focus on overseas installation and contingency support, explained Lt. Col. Kevin Nash, ACC Integration project officer.
It also gives the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and ACC contracting centers direct supervision of Soldiers supporting stateside operations within their organizations, he said.
Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general, said her intent is to “streamline mission command, better manage our military contracting Soldiers’ workloads and enhance contracting Soldier professional development.
“This action provides greater predictability for our civilian contracting leaders in assigning work to Soldiers in their offices,” she said. “It also provides greater professional development opportunities for contracting Soldiers as they are offered increased contracting experiences.”
Nichols said it also allows ECC to focus on the day-to-day overseas contracting mission and operational contract support tasks associated with Army Service Component Commands.
Brig. Gen. Ted Harrison, ECC commanding general, said the realignment will help 51C contingency contracting Soldiers develop their contracting skills.
“Future military operations will continue to demand expeditionary contracting Soldiers who are trained and ready to meet Army Service Component Command needs,” Harrison said.
“ACC integration allows the Expeditionary Contracting Command’s 51Cs to hone their skills in day-to-day contracting missions in Mission and Installation Contracting Command installation contracting offices as they support the Army’s generating force. This ‘work as they fight’ strategy will prepare them to deploy and support Army operational forces anywhere in the world. ECC is confident that the MICC civilian contracting experts will equip our contracting Soldiers with technical knowledge and provide hands-on experience through coaching, teaching and mentoring.”
Brig. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke, MICC commanding general, said the integration improves both the civilian and military contracting workforce.
“The synchronization and integration of uniformed members across the Mission and Installation Contracting Command provides indispensable technical, hands-on contracting training and experience for Army contingency contracting Soldiers,” Vollmecke said.
“Soldiers and contracting civilians working alongside one another drives positive change and brings balance, skill and depth to the acquisition workforce. This unified teamwork and collaboration with ACC and our Army customers is a key to continued success.”
Nash said the operation will occur in four phases. It began in December with the realignment of MICC contracting offices under four field directorate offices. MICC FDOs are aligned at sites with their major customers, and the 34 MICC subordinate contracting offices are grouped by customer to bring consistency to operations and improve contract administration and oversight.
Phase 2 begins in February, Nash said, attaching MICC-associated contingency contracting battalions, senior contingency contracting teams and contingency contracting teams to the MICC. ACC contracting center-associated contingency contracting teams will also be attached to their corresponding contracting centers during Phase 2.
“Attaching a unit to another unit means that, while the attached unit still ‘belongs’ to its higher headquarters, it takes its daily taskings from the unit to which it is attached,” Nash explained. “The units we’re attaching still ‘belong’ to ECC, but they are working directly for the organizations they are attached to.”
Phase 3 begins in April, he said. ECC will add two contracting support brigades that will be attached to the MICC headquarters. The 418th CSB will be headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, and the 419th CSB will be headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The final phase calls for the 412th CSB, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to be attached to the MICC headquarters on Oct. 1.
Nash said ECC will retain assignment of the CONUS-based CSBs and continue to be the ACC lead for operational contract support activities.
In the event of a mission requiring CONUS-based ACC units attached to the MICC or centers, Nash said ACC will publish an operation order that detaches those selected units back to the ECC for execution of the required mission. Upon completion of the mission, units would redeploy and be re-attached to the MICC or centers as required, he explained.
ECC will continue to be the ACC lead for all contingency contracting Soldier individual and unit training functions, he said.