JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (March 12, 2015) From the time young men and women develop a propensity to serve their nation to the years following fulfillment of their military commitments, contracting serves an enduring role in the support of Soldiers and their families.It is that continuum that set the dialogue between the command sergeants major from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and Army Recruiting Command during a March 10 visit to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.MICC Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Bowens is the senior enlisted adviser for an organization responsible for contracting good and services in support of the Soldiers, and Command Sgt. Maj. Willie Clemmons of USAREC is responsible for providing the strength of the Army by developing agile Army recruiters to access the nation's best and brightest."One of Army Recruiting Command's best partners is the Mission and Installation Contracting Command," said Clemmons, who assumed responsibility as the USAREC command sergeant major in June 2013. "We spend a lot of dollars in the civilian community -- advertising, meals, promotional items, our vehicle fleet -- in order to make our recruiting goals. The MICC provides us a great service."Bowens said that the shared core competency creates a collective effort between not only their two commands but also any Army organization whose reach extends beyond their respective commands."Recruiting represents a synergy that exists within the Army and broadens the outreach of any geographically dispersed organization," Bowens said. "The reliance on fellow Soldiers who are located in communities all across our nation to provide effective leadership when and where necessary is even more critical in an era of constrained resources."Headquartered at Fort Knox, Kentucky, USAREC is responsible for manning both the active Army and Army Reserve. USAREC conducts recruiting operations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and at U.S. facilities in Germany and Asia. Approximately 8,400 Soldiers are responsible for recruiting the enlisted force from more than 1,370 recruiting centers.READY RESOURCE The Army Materiel Command has the only contingency contracting capability in the Department of Defense, providing support to warfighters from more than 100 locations worldwide. The MICC serves as the training ground for many of the contracting Soldiers and civilians who support combatant commanders."As we look toward the Army of 2025, the two most important things other than leadership development is the talent management by USAREC and being good stewards of resources, which is what we do for the Army," Bowens said.Bowens said USAREC's ability to identify and recruit the highest qualified individuals for the all-volunteer Army allows the MICC to attract and retain a ready resource of some of the brightest Soldiers who meet one of the most stringent certification processes in the service."The young, professional NCOs we have in the MICC today are a prodigy of the last 13 years of recruiting," Bowens said. "These Soldiers who are shaping the Army today will be its leaders tomorrow."The Army recruited 69,154 and 57,101 young men and women to fill the ranks in fiscal 2013 and 2014, respectively, exceeding its active component goal. Enlisted Soldiers go on to enter a variety of military occupational specialties for the start of their careers before becoming eligible for reclassification into the Army Acquisition Corps. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center is accepting 51 Charlie MOS reclassification packets through noon Central Standard Time April 17 for those interested in competing at a June 2015 board.CRADLE TO GRAVE Contracts executed by MICC civilian and uniformed personnel support Soldiers from before they even raise their right hand in a formal oath to defend the U.S. Constitution until a solemn farewell when they are laid to rest."Contracting truly supports the lifeline of a Soldier," Bowens said. "It is there from the very beginning to the very end."Delivering campaigns targeted at educating young men and women about the training, education and leadership opportunities available through service, the award of a contract to execute a full range of advertising and marketing services sets in motion the call to action in direct support of enlisted and officer recruitment programs. MICC contracting officials at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston are wrapping up the market research phase of the advertising contract in partnership with the Army Marketing and Research Group in Washington, District of Columbia, for a March 2016 award.Acquisition professionals at MICC-Fort Knox also play an active role in support of future Soldiers with the execution of numerous contracts. Those contracted supplies and services include promotional items at USAREC outreach events; virtual recruiting; collateral materials such as notebooks, literature and mail-outs to inform varied audiences about service opportunities; leads generation support; and meals, lodging and transportation in support of the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command.From the issue of uniforms at Basic Military Training, food services and housing to training, base operations support and the move of personal and household goods, contracted services and supplies are woven throughout the commitment of service by Soldiers and their families. Whether that commitment is four years or a 20-plus year career, that support continues far beyond the decision to hang up the uniform.MICC-Fort Knox officials are awarding a contract later this year for Soldier for Life transition assistance program services at various locations in support of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. The program supports Soldiers with pre-separation counseling and employment assistance training services so that they can successfully transition into civilian life where they will continue to serve as Army ambassadors in their communities.Finally, one of the most visible contracts executed and administered by the command is in support of the Arlington National Cemetery. The MICC contracting office at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, manages multiple contracts for a variety of services at the nation's most active cemetery to include historical exhibits, landscape and gardening, turf and grounds maintenance, headstone placement and alignment, burial, custodial, public safety aids, and refuse and recycling.RECIPROCAL BENEFIT A mutual approach to doing business has led to a complimentary benefit between the MICC and USAREC -- one that Bowens said represents the sharing of ideas and resources called for by the Army's top leaders to mitigate increasing budget constraints."It's important that Army leaders are strategically in alliance," Bowens said. "This synergy creates a win-win for our workforce and family members, because it allows people to be taken care of in a timely manner."That extended reach benefitted the contracting command during the MICC organizational day and an oath of enlistment ceremony before a San Antonio Spurs audience in 2014. Recruiters from the 5th Recruiting Brigade at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston provided manned activities during the organization day as well as more than 60 future Soldiers for the ceremonial enlistment officiated by the MICC commanding general at the Spurs' Military Appreciation Night. Bowens said that form of strategic outreach has also proven to be more timely and effective in addressing some personnel matters while keeping temporary duty expenses at a minimum."This synergy creates a win-win for our workforce and family members by allowing the command to better leverage the use of resources and travel," Bowens said. "If anything happens to any Soldier, Army civilian or a family member, we can reach out to other commands and ask senior leaders to assist us while at the same time maximizing our own resources at a savings to the service and American public."The MICC command sergeant major added that such a reciprocal benefit minimizes the gaps between commands while reinforcing good stewardship of resources and fiscal responsibility.