For the first time in course history, sergeants major and command sergeants major attended the Army Contracting Pre-Command Course.Six Army Contracting Command senior non-commissioned officers were the first enlisted Soldiers to complete the two-week course conducted this fall at the University of Alabama in Huntsville."In cooperation with ACC, the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center and Army Acquisition Center of Excellence collaboratively decided to offer the Contracting Pre-Command Course to our sergeants major," explained Lt. Col. Jonathan W. Spurlock, course director."This mandatory, branch-specific course is designed to fill the needs of lieutenant colonels, colonels and Army civilians who have been designated through the Centralized Selection List for contracting command positions," he added. "To maximize the success of each command team, our non-commissioned officers have been offered the opportunity to share in this instruction and lend their unique experiences to this process from the perspective of the backbone of our Army."Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard P. Smalls, Sr., command sergeant major, U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command, said the course fills a gap in continuous leader development and prepares sergeants major to properly advise their commanders on issues and concerns that affect the organization's mission."When a command sergeant major or sergeant major is selected to serve at the brigade or battalion level, it is based on the individual's knowledge, skills and experience, which is also achieved through our institution," he said. "We must continue to provide this type of professional development, if we desire our NCOs to be competent and confident leaders in today's complex world."
NCOs who attended the course said material learned in the course will help them advise their commanders."The U.S. Army Contracting Pre-Command Course is a remarkable course that we cannot let die out," said Sgt. Maj. Darnyell Parker, 901st Contracting Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas. "The course was designed to bring command sergeants major and sergeants major into those exclusive positions where we are actually executing command leadership type roles and responsibilities. I feel that it is extremely imperative that command sergeants major and sergeants major continue to attend the course and if possible with their commanders to enhance their relationship as a command team."Sgt. Maj. Kimala Cox, 902nd CBn, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, said the course was "an excellent course designed to give sergeants major a better perspective of operational contracting and gave us an opportunity to train alongside current and future commanders."Sgt. Maj. Angella Beckford, 928th Contracting Battalion, Grafenwoehr, Germany; Command Sgt. Maj. Rhonda N. Easter, 408th Contracting Brigade, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; Sgt. Maj. Jesse McCowan, 412th CSB, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and Sgt. Maj. Cynthia A. Perryman, 905th CBn, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, also completed the course.Spurlock said the course prepares command selectees by providing a common understanding of current doctrine and by providing both new and refresher training in selected functions and duties. He said the goal is to ingrain battlefield contracting integration with combined arms considerations into commanders.Course curriculum includes the nature and peculiarities of the mission, installation, or facility to be commanded; management of manpower; labor relations and human resources; public affairs relationships, Department of Defense financial management and funding system; contract administration at the installation, service and DoD levels; morale, welfare and recreation programs; and analytical techniques used in the decision making process.The Contracting Pre-Command Course emphasizes Army doctrine and Army-unique system acquisition procedures and organizations throughout its curriculum, providing commanders with the most current trends and practices in accordance with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation and Federal Acquisition Regulation.