By Kari Hawkins, USAG RedstoneAugust 8, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Col. Michael Hoskin is new to Redstone Arsenal, but not to the mission of the Army Contracting Command and its subordinate command, the Expeditionary Contracting Command.
With more than 19 years of experience in Department of Defense contracting that includes three deployments as a contracting officer/leader in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and six deployments to Southeast Asia in support of various Pacific missions, Hoskin's new assignment as the commander of the Expeditionary Contracting Command is much like coming home professionally.
So, tha Aug. 1 assumption of command ceremony was also a "Welcome Home" to Hoskin from ACC commander Maj. Gen. Ted Harrison and the ACC/ECC staff. Hoskin's most recent assignment was as director of Operational Contract Support and Services to the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.
"I want to welcome the Hoskin family back to ACC," Harrison said at the ceremony. "I hope your time in this command is a rewarding experience and that you will find Madison County a beautiful place to live."
With his 23 years of experience in procurement and acquisition, and his knowledge of expeditionary contracting, Harrison said Hoskin will bring with him an "increased level of awareness of Army contracting" and will continue to be "heavily instrumental in operational contract support execution."
Hoskin replaces Bryan Samson, who served as deputy to the ECC commander before becoming ECC's executive director in October 2013. He has led ECC during the past 10 months, following Harrison's promotion from commander of ECC to commander of ACC and until Harrison's replacement at ECC could take over command. Hoskin is also slated to be promoted to brigadier general in September.
"We are welcoming an outstanding Soldier today and saying 'job well done' to a fantastic leader who has definitely put his stamp on this organization," Harrison said of the two leaders.
Through sequestration, furloughs and realignments, Samson's civilian leadership has been invaluable to maintaining the quality and professionalism of the ECC workforce, Harrison said.
The Expeditionary Contracting Command provides effective and agile expeditionary contracting across the full spectrum of military operations, Army service component commands and joint war fighters.
In its five-year history, the Expeditionary Contracting Command Soldier workforce has grown from 240 to 959, representing a 300 percent growth, and today is has a staff of more than 1,800 military, Army civilians and foreign local national personnel worldwide. It awards more than 47,000 contractual actions valued at more than $1.8 billion annually and manages contracts totaling more than $21 billion. The command deploys more than 300 contingency contracting officers each year in support of 169 expeditionary contracting missions across 60 countries.
Samson, a retired Army quartermaster and Acquisition Corps officer, has served in several contracting positions as a civilian employee. He said his acting appointment 10 months ago by Army Materiel Command's Gen. Dennis Via to lead ECC "was one of the proudest days of my professional life. I know few civilians who have accepted the colors an Army command."
While he appreciated the trust and confidence Army leaders showed in him, Samson said it is time to "get the world in proper balance again. Col. Hoskin is bringing a very broad portfolio of acquisition experience to this command. ECC is seeing one of its own come home."
During his temporary appointment, Samson said ECC changed in many ways to enable long-term relevancy to the Army. Besides managing acquisition programs in support of Soldiers, civilians and their families at Army installations outside the U.S., ECC also provides expeditionary contract support during military, humanitarian relief and natural disaster response operations.
"The power that ECC brings to the joint force is well beyond anything we've done in the past and is truly remarkable," Samson said.
Even in a time of hiring freezes, staff restructuring and automated systems, Samson said ECC employees have "never lost confidence or dropped a contract requirement. You have made me a better leader. You are the power of ECC."
In his 35 years working in and around the Army, Samson said he has not known better teamwork than what he has seen from an "all-star" staff of dedicated and motivated employees at ECC.
"What you do makes a very, very positive difference to the Army. Together you remain engaged, capable and committed," he said.
Hoskin hopes to continue improving and maturing ECC support by bringing his idea of "servant leadership" to the command.
"I am proud and humbled … to be back in Army contracting with the premier contracting organization," he said. "In its short five-year history, ECC is the only expeditionary colors across DoD. ECC will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of the Army, and continue to provide the critical acquisition and contracting capabilities for our Army and allied forces."
Hoskin commissioned into the Army 28 years ago as an armor officer and commanded a tank company and a headquarters, headquarters company of an armor battalion in Germany and the Persian Gulf. He later shifted into acquisition, serving as a contracting officer in various assignments in Iraq, Kuwait and the Pacific. His most recent contracting assignment was as the commander of the 413th Contracting Support Brigade and as the Pacific Command senior contracting official at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
Describing ECC as a "force multiplier across the Army organization," Hoskin said he will provide the type of "servant leadership" that will further grow the impact of ECC throughout the the Army and DoD.
In closing, Hoskin read three quotes that he bases his leadership style on.
From Gen. Omar Bradley: "Battles are won by the infantry, the armor, the artillery, and air teams, by Soldiers living in the rains and huddling in the snow. But wars are won by the great strength of a nation -- the Soldier and the civilian working together."
From Gen. Colin Powell: "Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."
From France's first Minister of Cultural Affairs Andre Malraux: "To command is to serve, nothing more, nothing less."