It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your commanding general over these past 17 months. As I prepare to hand over the reins of command to Brig. Gen. Ted Harrison next month, I want to review some of the amazing things we have accomplished together.

First, I've found the time has gone by incredibly quickly -- perhaps because we've faced so many challenges that required rapid solutions. I know that I've asked a lot from you, especially during the recent furlough period, but your can-do attitude and professionalism have ensured that we continued to meet the needs of our requiring activities and provided our Soldiers with the tools they need to fight and win. I'm humbled by your commitment to excellence and am very proud of all that you've accomplished -- under some very difficult circumstances.

ACC has made some amazing strides over the last year and a half. We've streamlined our headquarters and major contracting centers, allowing us to be more efficient and responsive. Though this prompted the closure of our National Capital Region contracting center and some of our teammates there elected to retire, more than 95 percent of the staff moved to other federal positions, many within our command.

We affected another sea change by integrating stateside Expeditionary Contracting Command Soldiers into Mission and Installation Contracting Command offices and our major contracting centers. This is proving to be a win-win situation. Soldiers are receiving on-the-job training and mentorship from our most experienced contracting officers. Contracting centers and offices are employing these Soldiers in their daily operations.

One of our major goals has been to develop a higher level of reporting and oversight capability through the Virtual Contracting Enterprise. Our VCE team has made significant progress in building a system that has one look and feel for all Army contracting professionals. Our Chief Information Officer G-6 and Contracting Operations folks have been a big part of this effort as well. Soon, our contracting team will be able to rely on the same set of tools, regardless of where they work or who they work for -- even in a contingency environment. The tools allow us to work on our goals to be more consistent, transparent and responsive contracting.

Another significant ACC achievement has been the expansion and growth of our annual training exercises designed to increase contingency contracting officer deployment readiness. Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 14, which we will host at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January, will include participants from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, a unified combatant command -- U.S. Northern Command-- and a major Army service component customer -- U.S. Army North.

We have made significant progress in expanding commercial contractor, public and congressional understanding of and support for ACC and Army contracting. Our industry executive council meetings with business executives, senior Army contracting officers and command leadership have fostered a more open and frank dialogue with our business partners that has been mutually beneficial. Our public and congressional outreach efforts have been successful in gaining the confidence of these key stakeholders.

As we prepare to move ACC and ECC headquarters to a new off-post location and welcome a new commander, I'm confident that our command will continue to excel and overcome the many challenges that lay ahead. Reduced budgets and manpower will continue to be the "new normal," but they will not deter the men and women of ACC from finding new and innovative ways to serve our requiring activities and Soldiers. I want to thank each one of you for your hard work, dedication and support. Good luck, Godspeed and -- ARMY STRONG!

Gold Eagle 6 out.