By Mr. Mark Diamond (SDDC)January 16, 2014
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In an effort to streamline and provide increased oversight and management of all Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command contract requirements, the SDDC Contracting Office will be disestablished as of Sept. 30, 2014. Additionally, the command's delegated procurement authority will also be removed.
Prior to its disestablishment, the SDDC Contracting Office handled Stevedoring and Related Terminal Services and SDDC information technology contracts within the Continental United States, as well as CONUS SDDC brigade and battalion support for commodities and services. According to SDDC Contracting Office officials, during Fiscal 2013 the office managed more than $100 million in contract actions and was responsible for the SDDC Government Purchase Card program at an additional estimated $4 million in annual transactions.
Carla Diamond, SDDC Contracts Division chief, said the myriad work previously accomplished by the SDDC Contracting Office is being realigned to other organizations within and outside of the command. While acquisition management responsibilities are being assigned to SDDC's G9 Strategic Business directorate, contracting responsibilities will be handled by the U.S. TRANSCOM Acquisition Office at Scott Air Force Base, and U.S. Army Contracting Command at Rock Island, Ill.
According to the command's top civilian leader, the disestablishment of the SDDC Contracting Office is "another evolution taking SDDC's residual procurement and contracting requirements and distributing those to U.S. TRANSCOM and ACC, where they can be aggregated with other requirements to deliver improved transportation or distribution services to our customers."
William Budden, SDDC's deputy to the commander, added: "Beyond simple contracting efficiency, this effort will elevate the development of customer-driven needs into requirement statements within SDDC."
In support of this effort, Budden said SDDC's G9 directorate is "completely retooling" to lead and assist in the requirements planning for the command's contracting initiatives. He said G9 will now be responsible for the development of statements of objectives, statements of work, performance work statements, business case analyses, cost benefit analysis, and other planning and analyses needed during the pre- and post-award stages of long-term contracting. He said the directorate will also perform analysis using key metrics to support the development of strategic sourcing recommendations and strategic sourcing market baskets, which will allow SDDC to focus on requirements, while TCAQ and ACC focus on best contracting practices.
THE PERSONAL SIDE
In addition to consolidating and realigning the SDDC procurement and contracting workload, the disestablishment of the SDDC Contracting Office eliminates the command's delegated procurement authority and, therefore, eliminates the need for 1102-series contracting specialists within SDDC.
According to Diamond, as a critical Army job series, an 1102 specialist is generally charged with acquiring utilities, janitorial services, hardware and software needs, and commodities and services that can only be accomplished within a contracting structure. She said that functionality will now be fulfilled by contracting specialists at TCAQ and ACC.
Although a few SDDC AQ personnel were management reassigned to other offices within SDDC headquarters, Diamond said a majority of their employees were placed in priority placement status. As of Jan. 1, she said almost all AQ employees had found new employment with other agencies on Scott Air Force Base and around Scott AFB. Budden added he is hopeful the remaining AQ employees will find employment by the end of this fiscal year.
In any case, Diamond said SDDC AQ employees can move on with their heads held high.
"The SDDC AQ office has saved millions of dollars for this command and it has not had a single protest action," she said. "That is a true testament to the command's highly skilled and trained AQ personnel."
"Each of our employees knows the critical role they play in any acquisition," added Larry Cooper, chief, SDDC Contracting Office. "We work tirelessly and spend months and years going through certifications so we can contract on behalf of the government with the best interest of the taxpayer. We know the work we do is an integral part of any command and we remind our employees of that almost daily."
During the early stages of AQ disestablishment actions, Diamond said it was important to remind employees that the decision to disestablish the office was not based on their performance.
"The command has only a limited number of resources; sequestration has imposed monstrous cuts to programs and personnel; and there are other offices that can provide the services we provide with little or no cost to SDDC, which will allow our G9 folks to concentrate on developing solid contract requirements," Diamond explained. "In a situation like this, as a supervisor, you have to take the time to remind your employees of the contributions they make to the mission, listen to their problems, and continue to reassure them that this is not a personal decision, but a decision based on necessity and logic. Overall, patience and concern for each other goes a long way."
According to Cooper, the command's G1 Personnel directorate has been extremely helpful during the transition. "They have made time for us, explained every step, and opened up their offices to employees to ensure our concerns have been addressed," he said. "Their knowledge and personal interest has made everyone's life much less traumatic."
Cooper added that the transition has progressed with only a few issues. He added, "As AQ continues to step back and G9 becomes the 'go-to source' for contracting actions, there may be a few growing pains, but patience and persistence should prevail."
"We were proud to be contributing members to the SDDC team," added Diamond. "We approached our day as professionals and worked diligently to meet mission needs within fiscal and legal parameters. Leaving SDDC is like leaving home and our SDDC family will be missed."