By Tara Clements
WASHINGTON (Oct. 13, 2014) – Today, Army acquisition leaders marked the 25th anniversary of the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) at a commemorative event on the opening day of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting.
The Hon. Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASA(ALT)) and the Army acquisition executive hosted the event along with Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, the principal military deputy to the ASA(ALT) and the director of acquisition career management. More than 100 people gathered to hear Shyu and Williamson’s remarks, including Gabriel Camarillo, Shyu’s principal deputy, several program executive officers, and former ASA(ALT) military deputies.
“From its humble beginnings, this dedicated workforce has continuously strived to provide first-rate materiel to our men and women in uniform,” said Shyu. “It is because of these talented members of the AAC that we are truly Army Strong.”
The AAC is a specially trained, dedicated group of more than 12,000 military and civilian acquisition leaders who develop, field and sustain the critical systems and services that enable our Soldiers to fight and win our nation’s wars. This cadre of leaders within the larger 38,000-strong Army Acquisition Workforce holds positions across 14 Acquisition career fields, including contracting, engineering, life-cycle logistics and program management and is predominately populated by Army civilians at more than 92 percent and 8 percent military.
Shyu addressed milestones and accomplishments from the program executive offices (PEO) including the Paladin, Interceptor Body Armor, Grey Eagle, future science and technology initiatives, and even medical research contributions related to the recent ebola outbreak.
“Our acquisition corps is often called upon to react rapidly as well,” said Shyu noting that 49 civilians from Joint PEO Chemical-Biological Detection were recognized last week for destroying 600 metric tons of stockpiled Syrian chemical weapons in “record time”—just 42 days.
Shyu ended her remarks with a tribute to the late Maj. Gen. Harry Greene who was killed by an Afghan soldier Aug. 5, in Afghanistan. “Truly, one of the most talented acquisition professionals I have ever known was Maj. Gen. Harry Greene. He was truly a Soldiers’ Soldier, the consummate professional of arms who cared deeply for our troops in the fight,” she said.
During his remarks, Williamson focused on the people—the professionals within the AAC who make it all possible to deliver the best products and capabilities for Soldiers and a focus on the future; the next 25 years and beyond.
“What we’re really celebrating here today is 25 years of people,” said Williamson. “With more than 7,000 advanced degrees and 400 doctoral degrees, there is a true level of professionalism,” he added.
“They are analysts, engineers, contract specialists, logisticians, scientists, program managers, quality assurance inspectors and experts in several other disciplines who execute diverse responsibilities on a daily basis to meet the needs—especially the urgent needs of our Soldiers anywhere in the world,” said Williamson.
And while the event was about celebrating the last 25 years, Williamson is looking forward to the future, noting three things on his mind for the next 25; including the need to maintain and strengthen relationships with warfighters and industrial base partners, the need to recruit and retain “top-notch acquisition professionals,” and the need to continue supporting programs while remaining responsive to meet the future needs of Soldiers.
“These are exciting times. Today, we celebrate the success of our Army Acquisition Corps over the first 25 years. Tomorrow, we embark on our next 25 years,” said Williamson.
President Obama’s message commemorating the anniversary was a key feature at the event. “Committed to advancing a broad range of operations—from advanced medical research and rocket science to contracting and logistics—Army acquisition professionals research, design, develop and deliver the capabilities our Soldiers rely on each day,” said Obama.
The AAC was created Oct. 13, 1989 by then-Army Chief of Staff, Carl E. Vuono as part of an initiative to streamline acquisition management and improve efficiency as identified by the Packard Commission and recommended in the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act. This included a specific focus on career development for Soldiers and civilians to account for the lengthy and complex training and development required by law.
Army Acquisition: Professional to the Corps.
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