ACC-RI now responsible for closing out contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan
December 9, 2011
The Army Contracting Command has been asked to step in to help close out the current backlog of contracts supporting the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prior to that decision, the responsibility for closing out those contracts belonged to the U.S. Central Command's Contracting Command. The ACC has directed its ACC-Rock Island contracting center to now execute this mission.
"ACC-RI was already providing acquisition support to the U.S. Central Command via our reachback Division," said Joan Wysoske, ACC-RI. "There was an existing memorandum of agreement and that had to be modified slightly to add the closeout mission."
Originally, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement) created the Contract Closeout Task Force Office in San Antonio, Texas, to eliminate an estimated backlog of 25,000 contracts. That estimate quickly grew to more than 105,000.
In May 2010, the commanding general of the U.S. Central Command Contracting Command made the decision to move the closeout mission to ACC-RI.
In order to get the task at hand accomplished some additional staff was needed. Since this is an additional mission, ACC-RI is providing some staffing and DASA (P) will also continue to provide funding. The ACC-RI personnel have been in place since October 2010 and the first DASA (P) funded personnel came on board in June 2011. DASA (P) provides funding for 25 persons (as they did for the San Antonio facility) and is also funding nine personnel through Ability One, National Industries for the Blind and the Chicago Lighthouse, not-for-profit agencies that are committed to providing jobs for people with disabilities.
Currently there are 31 personnel working the closeout mission at ACC-RI with six more in the process of coming on board, according to Wysoske.
According to the Government Accountability Office, it's uncertain how many contingency contracts
are still open from FY 2003-2010 but Wysoske thinks they can identify some of the contracts using the systems that helped create them.
"The use of contract writing systems, such as PD2 (Procurement Desktop-Defense) and PADDS (Procurement Automated Data and Document Systems), will be instrumental in identifying open contracts eligible for closeout (for those contracts awarded after 2008). The systems were not available to deployed personnel prior to 2009 when contracts were written with word processing
software and statistics were gathered manually," she said.
To work their way through the contracts, Wysoske said each contract file reviewed will be inventoried and confirmed as closed. If not closed, documentation will be researched to determine that the goods or services contracted for were delivered, accepted, and paid for; and the contract will be closed. Any excess funds will be deobligated.
"If we do not identify and deobligate excess funds before they expire, that money may not be used for other needed goods and services," Wysoske said. "And secondly, if payment issues are not resolved in a timely fashion, unpaid contractors are less likely to want to provide competitive bids and offers for future business with the U.S."
For Wysoske and her team, success can be measured in dollars and sense.
"Closing the 15,000 contracts in inventory from FY07 before the FY07 dollars expire will be considered success," she said. "Doing that while the ACC-RI Closeout Branch will also be working payment issues, claims issues and newer contracts as well is the best approach and will show results."