REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Recent process changes have led to more positive teaming between the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile, Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Army Contracting Center Redstone Contracting Center, officials said.

"Army Contracting Command Redstone is a critical teammate that helps enable conduct of the AMRDEC mission," said AMRDEC Director James Lackey.

Aviation and Missile Command Express introduced a technical direction portion of the award process
that puts more control into the requiring organizations.

"We collectively recognized something had to change with the existing process; how we could make it more streamlined and efficient without sacrificing end-product quality and proper checks and balances," Lackey said.

In addition to the technical direction, emphasis was put on updating the evaluation boards.

"We restructured so we had one dedicated group whose sole focus was award evaluation. Before the responsibility was spread across a larger group and each individual only focused on the task for a few hours a day," said Shirley Martin, ACC Enterprise Service Solutions Division A Chief. "The process time was cut down from six to nine months to two to three weeks."

In addition to the evaluation team they also developed a dedicated a recompete team. These two groups are rotated to prevent burn out.

With frequent feelings of disconnect, AMRDEC saw the need to create a new position to act as a liaison to ACC. Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate Acquisition Manager Cheryl Jones' main priority is to bring issues to the surface and resolve them faster.

"There is still work to be done and we can always be improving," said Jones. "The Department of Defense Initiative of National Military Strategy instructs to assist research so the Army can continue making discoveries and stay on the cutting edge."

Kim Blanding, Deputy ACC-RSA, Services finds inspiration in words from Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Gabram, Commander of AMCOM.

"To Gabram trust is at the top of the list. It is about having good relationships and attitude," Blanding said.

Blanding says ACC has empowered their employees to make good decisions.

"We have to remain mission focused instead of just seeing induvial or teams. We all have to be on the same page," she said.

With better processes in place, both offices are reinvigorated, experiencing clearer communication and more cooperation. Tours of AMRDEC facilities have allowed ACC staff to be more engaged in seeing the overall mission. ACC staff has toured PIF and SED facilities and have plans to visit more facilities.

"Seeing they are part of a bigger picture has made our staff more emotionally invested," said Martin. "The packages become more than pieces of paper."

"This is all about the acquisition community being critical thinkers to problem solve," Lackey said. "We innovated for improved bottom line outcomes and helped to significantly reduce procurement lead times in support for our industry partners who are greatly and adversely affected when contract awards do not happen in a timely manner."

"As part of the AMCOM/ACC-R and AMRDEC Unified Action the team pulled together and significantly improved our processes," said Rebecca Weirick, Executive Director of the Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal. "We have eliminated the backlog in AMCOM Express and have decreased the numbers of 'off mission' contractors although there is still work to be done. We are working very well under Unified Action and expect to see many other process improvements in the coming fiscal year."

-----

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.