By Maj. Toby Birdsell, Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort CarsonJanuary 30, 2017
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- (Jan. 30, 2017) Members of the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Carson spent last week consolidating, recording, analyzing and determining the final disposition of 1,242 paper contracts.
Hailed as the Paper Contract Rodeo, an all-hands effort was generated to account for all paper contracts still in existence at the MICC-Fort Carson contracting office.
Planning for the rodeo began more than two months ago after members there identified the likelihood that numerous contracts were closed and had exceeded their retention end date.
"With the regular turnover of personnel within a contracting office, old paper contracts had become dormant in cabinets for years without any attention," said Staff Sgt. Farah Surin, a contract specialist with the 616th Contracting Team.
Although the Virtual Contracting Enterprise-Paperless Contract File replaced paper contracts in 2011, older contracts were not required to migrate and still existed in hardy copy, taking up precious space throughout contracting offices.
To remedy this, Soldiers from the 918th Contracting Battalion director's office and operations cell immediately began planning for this weeklong event.
"The benefit of executing complex events such as this is that it gives the battalion the opportunity to train our mission essential task list; specifically, to conduct the mission command operations process," said Master Sgt. Kevin Propes, the 918th CBN operations officer.
The battalion commander provided guidance and intent to his staff in the development of a plan, and then he enabled subordinate leaders to execute initiative and ingenuity to meet the desired end state. With a shared understanding and purpose of the mission, battalion leaders said mutual trust was developed to enable the teams to cohesively work together. To reinforce mission command, multiple in-progress reviews took place with key leaders in addition to a dry-run rehearsal prior to execution.
The rodeo started with the removal of all paper contracts from offices and relocating them into a single file room. Once consolidated, more than 5,000 pounds of contracts were moved into a larger training room where they were separated by year groups. With piles of contracts stacked across numerous tables, teams dedicated to each of the year groups began their analysis of each contract. To leverage efficiencies, individuals within each team were dedicated to specific roles such as researching contracts on the Procurement Desktop Defense system, VCE-PCF and properly labeling each contract file for its final disposition.
Based on research from the team, each paper contract was determined to have one of three possible dispositions: closed and reached its retention end date; closed but have not reached its retention end date; and not closed and requires additional work.
If the contract was closed and had already reached its retention end date, it was set aside to be shredded. Contracts that were closed but had not reached their retention end date were boxed with contracts of similar retention end dates, appropriately recorded, and stored for future disposal. Finally, contracts that were not closed were labeled and secured in a consolidated file room for ease of locating in the future.
"By the conclusion of the rodeo, the contents of the file room had shrunk to only one fifth of its former size, freeing up precious space within our building," Propes said.
More importantly, every paper contract at MICC-Fort Carson is now accounted for, with its disposition in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
"The benefits of an operation like this are numerous," said Lt. Col. Thomas McFall, the 918th CBN commander. "We were able to bond and grow as a team during the week while focused on a single mission, learn as an organization of the proper storage and disposal methods for paper contracts, and simultaneously remove hundreds of contracts that were taking up space throughout our offices."
MICC-Fort Carson is a subordinate unit of the 418th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. It is made up of almost 50 military and civilian members assigned to the contracting office and 918th CBN who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2016, MICC-Fort Carson executed more than 567 contract actions valued at more than $74.8 million in support of its customers, including $60.1 million to American small businesses. The contracting office also managed more than 9,756 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $8.7 million.