JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (Oct. 31, 2016) A new training program to enhance the effectiveness of contracting oversight and quality assurance processes is underway by quality assurance specialists across the Mission and Installation Contracting Command.The Certified Quality Manager and Organizational Excellence program encompasses studies in leadership, strategic planning, management and training development. The course guides the command's quality assurance specialists integrating oversight requirements into acquisition practices and improving customer service for each stakeholder involved in the acquisition process."We anticipate that this course will enhance our strategic planning capabilities," said Ben Rush, a quality assurance subject matter expert for procurement operations at the MICC. "The training will improve our ability to develop real-time system solutions to meet our customers' needs. We will use the training to motivate and evaluate our contracting officer representatives to use the right management tools and techniques to resolve organizational challenges. This knowledge will enable the practitioner to determine the right metrics for the data we work with for continuous improvement to provide responsive solutions to our Army."The program includes instruction on how to work with complex situations, with a broader comprehension of all the elements relevant to the contracting approach needed to enable Army operations.Rush said knowledge gained from these classes fosters improved support to customers including Army commands, installations and activities by the MICC through disciplined, responsive and prudent oversight solutions.Quality assurance specialists are involved in planning, developing and administering quality assurance programs to support the development, acquisition, production, use, maintenance, storage and supply of products required by federal agencies. Such positions are primarily concerned with the prevention of defects and non-conformances, the identification of trends and conditions, and the correction of factors that may contribute to defective items."This training is capable of enabling the quality assurance specialist to execute duties to sustain the commanding general's vision to do the right thing every day," Rush said. "We requested this particular course as it will substantially improve our capabilities to demonstrate to leadership and the public our stewardship that they receive the maximum value for each tax dollar spent on behalf of the Army."The Army-funded training consists of students accessing a link every Monday that connects them to an instructor-led, real-time, online, two-hour class from a vendor that specializes in quality training.Karen Stevens is a quality assurance specialist and the COR training manager for the MICC who serves as the course facilitator for the command's first 10 students in the course."The training works on our computers similar to a live video conference at the MICC. We coordinated with the vendor and conducted eight field tests with our first cadre of 10 students two weeks before the first live event," she said. "For those who want additional exposure to the sessions, or prefer to use their time at work differently, we have a link to each recorded session and have unlimited access to the courses. Supervisors for the first 10 students have been very supportive and have expressed their encouragement for their employees to participate during work hours."The MICC has been authorized 10 slots for four quarters. Everyone who participates in the course may earn 30 continuous learning points, or CLPs, subject to supervisor approval. DOD policy requires acquisition workforce members to acquire 80 CLPs every two years from the date of entry into the workforce for as long as the individual remains in an acquisition-coded position. Army acquisition leadership encourages its members to set a goal of achieving 40 continuous learning points within any 12-month period."I believe the entire organization will benefit. We have several geographically dispersed office locations staffed with only one quality assurance specialist to accommodate the needs of their contracting office," Rush said. "Our QAs also have to meet the requirements of the MICC Desk Book, acquisition package reviews and assist the requiring activities with acquisition development. The course empowers that lone QA to take business and quality requirements into consideration when developing a quality system to achieve success at each phase of the acquisition."Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members assigned to three contracting support brigades and a field directorate office throughout the United States who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2016, the command executed more than 32,000 contract actions valued at more than $4.6 billion across the Army, including $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command also managed more than 585,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $741 million.