Fort Rucker hosted more than 80 commercial aviation maintenance business representatives here for a first-hand look at Army Aviation helicopter maintenance needs Oct. 5-6.With the current US Army Aviation Center of Excellence Rotary Wing Aviation Maintenance contract set to expire in Sep. 2017, the Industry Day event focused on providing information about the Aviation mission and maintenance requirements so industries can formulate future bid proposals on the upcoming contract.USAACE Senior Executive Serviceman and Deputy to the Commanding General Russell B. Hall in his opening remarks at the Seneff Building Oct. 5 welcomed participants to "one of the most dynamic places you'll ever be" regarding the scope of Aviation operations here."Maintenance is absolutely critical to the safety of flight. [As you tour] the maintenance operations today, you'll see the span we're operating under is immense, it's precise, it's run with great efficiency that you'll expect any organization to have," Hall said."We're looking for innovative ways of making it better, and those innovations that will give us the best value," he said.Hall said the federal government is looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of contracts, and his primary focus is on quality of training and training outcomes."I'm more interested in the number of students that get in the aircraft and launch every morning," Hall said.Hall encouraged participants to ask questions and get answers they need.Hall said Soldiers on the ground in harm's way depend on Army Aviation, and put their trust in the highest quality training and maintained aircraft.Col. Michael J. Best, commander of Aviation Center Logistics Command here, described the scope of the Aviation mission at Fort Rucker, which includes 5 base fields, 17 stage fields, and approximately 600 aircraft. With three launch cycles per day, and 300 to 500 aircraft launches per day, the mission encompasses about 25 percent of the Army's flying hour program, he said."Maintenance operations are ongoing continuously to meet the student load demand requirement here," Best said.The ACLC ensures quality, safe aircraft are provided from the contractor to 110th Aviation Brigade so that every student has opportunity to accomplish the goals of initial entry and graduate level training.The two-day event included a tour of Fort Rucker airfields and main post work centers, and one-on-one sessions with members of ACLC and the Army's Mission and Installation Contracting Command, which has oversight for the maintenance contract.The goal of the event was to better equip the vendors to provide innovative and cost effective proposals.The possible 10-year contract, which includes one base year and nine option years, is expected to be awarded in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.Industry can expect improved business processes with this contract, according to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Gabbert, commanding general, US Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, who greeted the industry representatives Wed."We've heard your voice about how we tend not to be transparent, we tend to be close guarded, risk averse on publishing what our schedule is because it might change. We're trying to change that narrative. We're trying to show not only ourselves but our brothers and sisters in Army contracting community that this is what right looks like, and you can help shape that," Gabbert said.Dean Carsello, lead contracting officer for MICC, said the Army is working hard to streamline and reduce proposal cost, which includes use of a new secure cloud collaborative tool called "Huddle" for use by government and industry to communicate technical data."I want you to know we have worked hard to engage. We have committed to be transparent, to engage, to listen," Carsello said.Gabbert said the bottom line is maintenance saves lives."What you're going to do in this contract is very meaningful every day, because you save lives. If that aviator can't get in that helicopter and fly safely, we have failed," Gabbert said. "We owe it to our Soldiers and civilians."