By Rachel Clark, 409th CSBNovember 21, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- To improve efficiencies in contingency contracting environments, the 409th Contracting Support Brigade began training on a hand-held device designed to replace the 55-year-old, paper-driven contracting process.
Soldiers from the 903rd and 928th Contingency Contracting Battalions here spent three weeks training on the 3in1 Tool, a hand-held computing device that automates the field ordering, receipt and payment of on-the-spot, cash-and-carry purchases.
"Our contracting officers are often deployed to remote locations and unable to access military facilities," said Col. William Bailey, 409th CSB commander. "This tool helps them by transmitting to contracting officers' and approvers' computers the cash-and-carry type purchases that are made in the field. It reduces their risks and improves accountability."
The tool was developed to improve procurement and cash management on the battlefield, and to provide immediate visibility into purchases and payments to finance and contracting offices and to command leadership. It increases visibility for commanders of cash, finances and purchases down range.
"This product was born out of war-time feedback," said Kelley Page Jibrell, deployment strategy and outreach subject matter expert, Defense Logistics Agency.
Jibrell said for the past five decades contracting officers have used the Standard Form 44 purchase order for on-the-spot and over-the-counter purchases of supplies and non-personal services. The 3in1 Tool is the result of years of feedback in various deployed environments, one of which was the vulnerability of cash on site as well as having no command-wide visibility of the purchases made locally.
Jibrell said a multi-service task force convened and determined that an automated tool would improve real-time tracking and business intelligence of cash purchases. The Department of Defense contracted a software development company to develop the software on a ruggedized and military specific device that would withstand the rigors of Soldiers in the field.
According to Jibrell, the 3in1 Tool has garnered plenty of interest among the various service branches as well as the National Guard Bureau. A Navy contingency contracting team deployed the equipment during a mission in the Horn of Africa.
The Air Force will implement the tool as part of its standard training.
Jibrell said the 409th is the first unit to deploy the tool to support a combatant command and is the first to field it in Europe.
"We are excited to utilize this tool out in the field and continue to support the war fighter," Bailey said.