FORT RUCKER, Alabama -- (Oct. 31, 2016) More than 85 industry representatives from more than 40 small and large businesses took part in the Fort Rucker Industry Day and airfield tour Oct. 5 in preparation for the solicitation of proposals for a contract supporting U.S. Army and Air Force rotary wing maintenance services at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Mission and Installation Contracting Command officials conducted the outreach event hosted by the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Aviation Center Logistics Command at Fort Rucker.

The industry day afforded participants an opportunity to learn more about and see firsthand various aspects of the contract requirement for aviation maintenance at Fort Rucker. It included a bus tour to five of the aviation fields where industry representatives were briefed by ACLC and Air Force representatives.

"We showed them the breadth and depth of airfield operations at Fort Rucker," said Dean Carsello, the lead contracting officer for the acquisition from the MICC headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. "We also reached out by setting up a matchmaking event to optimize small business subcontracting opportunities."

The following day, business representatives from potential prime contractors had the opportunity to have questions answered directly during one-on-one discussions with members of the contracting and requirements team.

Prior to the airfield tour, Brig. Gen. Jeff Gabbert, the MICC commanding general, relayed to industry day participants that the purpose of such outreach events is twofold.

"Aviation is critical to our commanders and Soldiers on the ground," said Gabbert. "I cannot think of a single contract that impacts Army Aviation readiness more than this one. To maintain our aviation dominance it is imperative for us to drive innovative solutions. The Army will achieve results through open and candid discussions with industry and competition."

The acquisition is the largest to be executed by the MICC since the command stood up in 2009 and involves contracting personnel across the MICC. The Army plans to award a follow-on contract with a period of performance for up to 10 years to begin in October 2017.

Carsello said critical in the industry outreach effort is obtaining beneficial feedback that translates into tangible outcomes when drafting the final request for proposal.

"It's an open exchange, and we encourage all ideas. We want their ideas to be reflected in the request for proposal," said Carsello of the interactions and feedback with industry representatives. "We'll know how effective the industry outreach was when we see how many proposals are received and the quality of proposals submitted. My intent is to set a standard where we clearly tell people what we need to see, clearly communicate what we're going to do with what we see, and have exchanges to the maximum point to get a meeting of the minds."

As officials continue to draft the request for proposal, the next step for the Fort Rucker aviation maintenance services acquisition is a DOD peer review in November. Carsello said this involves a review by each of the other military services and the office of the secretary of defense staff to ensure the acquisition strategy matches actions outlined in the request for proposal.

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 good 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.