JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 19, 2014) -- A group of acquisition professionals gathered to define the role of NCOs in contracting Dec. 16-18 at the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Acquisition Training Facility on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.The group is comprised of four officers and nine enlisted, from various units in the acquisition field along with two members from the MICC. It is led by Lt. Col. Wyeth Anderson and Master Sgt. Larry Metcalf, commander and acting sergeant major, respectively, of the 925th Contingency Contracting Battalion and Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Drum, New YorkThey are part of a collaborative effort to define the roles and responsibilities of the 51C military occupational specialty needed to execute government contracts. The group also discussed NCO certification requirements and the 51C developmental model."We want our NCOs to have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities and what is expected of them when they are in the field," Metcalf said.Maj. Gen. Ted Harrison, commanding general of the Army Contracting Command, provided direction to the group last week, telling members to leave their agendas and emotions at the door and develop a five- to 10-year plan for 51Cs to follow as they develop their careers in the Army."We want true, honest communication that drives us in defining the roles and responsibilities of the 51C," Metcalf said.As the role of the NCO continues to grow, a clearly defined path for progression is becoming increasingly important. Qualifications such as education are becoming more of a discriminator due to certification requirements for NCOs. This stipulation has become a key element in a competitive selection process to enter into the career field, according to career field officials."The NCO is a leader, coach, trainer, mentor who provides continuity among civilian and officer acquisition professionals," said Lt. Col. Toney Stephenson, director of operations, plans and training for the MICC. "The 51C NCO is the backbone of the contingency and expeditionary contracting force."The decision to begin assessing uniformed members into the 51C contracting career field came about in late 2006 to meet the Army's increasing need for contingency contracting officers. The integration of approximately 400 Soldiers to contracting offices throughout the MICC began in March 2013 as a means to streamline the span of control from oversight of uniformed service members stateside while enhancing their professional development.