Contracting officers save Army almost $22 million
Lucy Vessels and her fellow staff members helped save the Army almost $22 million as part of the procurement of wireless communications services in support of recruiting. Vessels is a contracting officer with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A Mission and Installation Contracting Command contracting office at Fort Knox, Ky., saved almost $22 million with the award of a contract for wireless devices and services supporting the Army's more than 8,500-member recruiting force around the world.

MICC-Fort Knox officials awarded the contract at the end of June to Sprint Communications for $31,240,200.

It provides a full range of wireless devices and associated services to include both voice and data for the Army Human Resource Command and other elements it supports. The USAHRC provides information technology support to the Army Recruiting Command, which is primarily responsible for recruiting young men and women to serve in the Army's all-volunteer force.

"Cell phones and BlackBerrys have been provided to recruiters for several years to better enable them to attract and communicate with prospective recruits throughout the United States as well as overseas installations," said Dale Williams, the chief of the MICC-Fort Knox Human Resource Center of Excellence Division.

"We started discussing the requirement with the customer in January when we learned the package would be coming our way," said Lucy Vessels, the MICC-Fort Knox procuring contracting officer.

The acquisition package arrived at MICC-Fort Knox in March and contracting officials quickly discovered that a potential for significant savings was possible. The requirement was identical in technical terms, and its government estimate was based on present and historical pricing, Vessels said.

Vessels explained that much of the savings were realized as a result of a competitive contract process that led to substantially lower monthly fees.

"Additionally, the contract was previously managed through the Government Services Agency, which had charged a 1.5 percent fee for the cost of the contract it administered," said Vessels. "As a result of using the MICC-Fort Knox to process the contract action, non-DoD contract fees were avoided."

The firm-fixed-priced contract includes a 10-month base period and four one-year option periods. An estimated contract savings of $21,957,210 is anticipated over the base and option periods.

"We knew we'd save money on the contract, but had no idea we'd save that kind of money," Williams said.

Devices included in the contract will include commercial off-the-shelf cellular phones and BlackBerrys and related accessories on the Army's approved products list. Services include voice, data, international roaming and dialing, SMS instant message, multimedia messaging, secure voice and directory assistance.

Contracting staff took a proactive role in this acquisition as part of the Acquisition Milestone Agreement planning process implemented across the MICC in January 2012 as a strategic approach to improve communication, standardize the development of milestones and increase accountability between contracting offices and their customers. The teaming process between contracting staff, requiring activities and Army leaders affords a more active role earlier in the acquisition process to ensure efficient and effective acquisition strategies are executed to meet the mission.

Page last updated Fri July 27th, 2012 at 00:00