Army Contracting Command added more capability to its contracting arsenal with the activation of the 926th Contingency Contracting Battalion.

The new unit was activated Aug. 27 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Approximately 200 guests attended the ceremony at Mallette Hall auditorium to witness the uncasing of the organizational colors by Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general. During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Derek Draper received the colors from Nichols, symbolic of assuming command of the new unit.

"The command team of the 926th CCBn is eager and well prepared to start and fulfill its new mission," said Nichols. "Their mission will be twofold. First, they will train a global-ready expeditionary contracting force capable of deploying in support of the joint war fighter in all areas of responsibility. Second, they will provide comprehensive contracting and business advisory support to the customers of the Army Contracting Command -- Aberdeen Proving Ground."

The 926th activation was the final phase of the ACC integration of military members into contracting centers. With this military integration, ACC-APG assumed management of approximately 40 military personnel in the 51C (acquisition, logistics and technology contracting) career field, according to Bryon J. Young, ACC-APG executive director.

"This is a historic day and tremendous organizational opportunity for ACC-APG," said Young. "We have been entrusted with the mission to assist and train military contracting officers and specialists. Contracting professionals, both military and civilian, serve as agents of the United States of America, entrusted with integrity, to ensure the best possible support for our customers, our war fighters and the taxpayer."

As commander of the 926th CCBn, Draper will be responsible for four contingency contracting teams (712th CCT, 722nd CCT, 725th CCT and the 865th CCT). The teams are comprised of two officers and three noncommissioned officers.

Draper admits he's humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this group of military members.

"I'm truly honored to be the first commanding officer of the 926th CCBn," Draper said. "I'm also excited for the unique opportunities available to our Soldiers at APG. They will be able to expand their contracting skills and work on complex contract actions in support of ACC-APG's diverse customer base."

Just as the mission of the 926th CCBn is two-fold, Draper will also have dual responsibilities.

In addition to serving as the battalion commander, he will serve as chief of ACC-APG's Garrison Division. In this role, Draper will provide contracting support to the garrison, procuring supplies and services for the Soldiers and civilians of APG.

Military members of the 926th CCBn are attached to ACC-APG for daily management and professional development but are assigned to the Expeditionary Contracting Command for contingency operations. In the event that they are called to support contingency mission requirements, the members will be detached from ACC-APG for the duration of the deployment.

"The garrison contracting requirements closely resemble the type of contract actions our Soldiers experience while they are deployed," explained Draper. "The time they spend supporting garrison requirements will form their contracting foundation that they will build upon as they advance their contracting careers to serve their nation."