Plan guides Soldier contracting skills development
Capt. Ian Vargas and Staff Sgt. Nichole Gibson discuss an acquisition procedure during the Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise Jan. 27, 2013, at Fort Bliss, Texas. Vargas is a contracting officer from Fort Polk, La., and Gibson is a contracting specialist from Fort Knox, Ky. They are among the more than 400 Soldiers being attached to the Mission and Installation Contracting Command over the next seven months.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A Mission and Installation Contracting Command cross-functional team here has developed a planning guide to manage the professional development needs of more than 400 Soldiers who are being attached to the command over the next seven months.

Army Contracting Command officials announced in January the attachment of Soldiers in 62 units to MICC field offices across the country beginning March 20 to streamline the oversight of Expeditionary Contracting Command members stateside and enhance their contracting skills.

To help program that training, a team of MICC headquarters personnel at Fort Sam Houston have been meeting since October 2012 to develop the Contingency Contracting Officer Rotation Training Plan Guide that outlines a structured approach. Making up the team were military and civilian representatives from training and readiness, strategic operations, acquisition career program management, and contract policy and training.

"The plan defines training guidelines and participant responsibilities to ensure experiential learning opportunities are maximized and streamlined throughout the MICC," said Lydia Hardy, an operations officer with the MICC Training and Readiness Division who led the integrated process team.

The plan charts training, education and experience requirements on a rotational schedule alongside MICC civilian professionals to best develop Soldiers for future assignments. It will allow contracting Soldiers in an installation contracting office to gain experience with simplified and complex contracting procedures valuable in performing operational contract support during contingency operations.

"In essence, our journeyman contracting professionals are playing a major role in training future MICC, ECC and ACC commanding generals and command sergeants major," said Col. Antonio Brown, the director of the MICC field directorate office at Fort Bragg, N.C., who will also command the 419th Contracting Support Brigade upon activation in April.

Although assigned to the ECC, Soldiers will be attached to the MICC and direct supervision over day-to-day assignments by Soldiers supporting stateside operations will fall on MICC leaders and supervisors.

On-the-job training and mentorship are at the core of the rotation training plan, according to Brig. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke, the MICC commanding general. He said the command's seasoned, knowledgeable and skilled leaders should use this rotation training plan as an opportunity to contribute to the long-term professional development of our contracting workforce.

The training plan is based on a 36-month timeline over two phases. The plan calls for an initial skills assessment between the Soldiers, who already have a basic level of contracting knowledge, and their supervisor. Soldiers will begin working with simple acquisitions and transactions before moving on to complex contracts. The plan lays out a path for Soldiers to become proficient with all procedures making up the contracting lifecycle from pre-award and award to administration, including closeout.

During their first phase of training, Soldiers will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in simplified acquisitions, contract administration, minor construction, small business programs and the Government Purchase Card Program. The second phase includes practical experience in awarding and administering complex contracts, price analysis and source selection evaluation.

The plan also entails an assessment element for tracking progress by Soldiers, defines responsibilities for each individual involved in the training process, and lists Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act requirements for obtaining professional certifications.

The integration of Soldiers with the MICC is being accomplished in three phases. The first phase includes attaching approximately 200 military members, assigned to the ECC, to 19 MICC contracting offices where they are already collocated. The second phase calls for the April 16 activation of the 418th CSB headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, and 419th CSB at Fort Bragg. The final phase includes the attachment of the 412th CSB at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to the MICC in the fall of 2013.

The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter throughout Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2012, the command executed more than 58,000 contract actions worth more than $6.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.6 billion to small businesses. The command also managed more than 1.2 million Government Purchase Card Program transactions valued at an additional $1.3 billion.

Page last updated Thu March 14th, 2013 at 00:00