ACC supports Presidential Inaugural activities
February 14, 2013
When millions of people around the world watched President Barack Obama take the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building Jan. 21, little did they know that Army Contracting Command contracting officers had worked behind the scenes for months to help make the event a success.
Harold E. Williams, ACC liaison officer to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement), Crystal City, Va., led the contracting trio assigned to the Inauguration Joint Task Force-National Capital Region.
Contracting specialists Rick Torres, MICC-Fort Knox, Ky., and Les Pagano, Jr., ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., were assigned to the Inaugural Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., under the ACC Developmental Assignment Program. Julie Lumpkins, human resources specialist, ACC Deputy Chief of Staff, Human Capital G1, emailed the developmental assignment opportunity to senior leaders and career managers in July, seeking two volunteers. She said seven candidates applied.
Lt. Col. Maria D. Schneider, MICC-Fort Belvoir, Va., director of Contracting, and her teams at Fort Belvoir and Fort Myer, Va., provided additional support.
"It was a great feeling to know that we had contributed in a small way, on that day, at that moment, as the world was watching democracy at work in America," Williams said. "I was reflective of the last inauguration as I stood at the corner of 14th (Street) and Pennsylvania Avenue to witness history next to an elderly (in her 80s) African-American woman wearing her finest, I remind you it was 5 degrees, who said, 'Today I smile, because tomorrow we have more work to do'."
Torres said attending the Inauguration "was an experience I'll never forget. Seeing some of the planning that went into it was very rewarding knowing I contributed to the success of the Inauguration.
"This developmental assignment was far more challenging than what I thought," he continued. "Not only working on the 57th Presidential Inaugural requirements from the ground floor, but being able to contribute to the Fort Myer office mission helped expand my knowledge of the acquisition process."
Williams said the contracting team executed 15 contract actions valued at approximately $1 million.
"This was the easy part," he said. "The real challenge was providing a consistent level of contracting support to the JTF during several periods of organizational change and realignment."
Williams said the JTF-NCR planning began in August. The JTF started with about 65 members, but grew to about 600 people in December. He said contracting officers from other government agencies were also involved. The team reviewed contractual arrangements from the General Services Administration, Federal Protective Service, National Parks Service and other federal entities to ensure the task force was entering good business agreements.
"All of the contract actions were unique and required quite a bit of ingenuity," Williams added. "The biggest challenge was being flexible enough to work through continual changes in requirements right up to the point of award. That's the real value of having highly skilled contracting personnel on the team."
He said changes were common right up to actual delivery.
"There were several contracting actions that really required tremendous research to ensure final recommendations were legal and proper in accordance with current regulations to ensure the JTF was complaint with current acquisition rules,"
But it wasn't all work. To relieve stress, Torres trained on the National Mall after work. He completed the 2012 Army 10-Miler on his 50th birthday, finishing 295th overall from among more than 40,000 runners, placing eighth in the 50-54 age group with a time of 1:01:05.
The Inaugural task force was Williams' last mission for ACC. He is moving to DASA(P).
"I am grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity to support the 57th Presidential Inauguration and work with Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the MICC," he said. "My hope is the Army will continue to recognize the importance and capabilities of the ACC, and continue to call upon us to provide business advice and guidance as Army organizations grapple with the complex procurement process, reductions and realignments of forces, and constrained fiscal environment."
He said MICC-Fort Belvoir will continue to support the JFHQ-NCR after the trio of contracting officers return to their home stations by the end of February.