By Ed Worley, Army Contracting CommandMarch 15, 2017
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--"Help me help you," said the Army Materiel Command commander as he met with the Army Contracting Command leadership here.
Gen. Gustave Perna met March 3 with Maj. Gen. James E. Simpson, ACC commander and the ACC staff. ACC subordinate command leaders joined the meeting via video teleconference.
He emphasized his push to operationalize the AMC enterprise, which includes contracting. He said the contracting community's job is to deliver contracting solutions to meet the chief of staff of the Army's priorities and the combatant commanders' priorities.
Perna defined operationalizing contracting as integrating and synchronizing contracting across the materiel enterprise in order to meet the Army's priorities and the combatant commanders' priorities, he stressed.
It's not about the number of actions and the dollars obligated, he said. "It's about outcomes for the Soldier on the battlefield and for the Army."
Contracting professionals need to work closely with requiring activities to get ahead of requirements and to help shape requirement documents, he said. Contracting leaders need to be inside that decision cycle, he added, influencing the decision-making process. Building relationships with requiring officials plays a big role, according to Perna.
"Eat lunch with the other tribe," he said. "Decisions by senior leaders are usually made before the decision brief."
The four-star said any additional fiscal year 2017 funds will fall on the contracting community to execute.
"ACC will shoulder the brunt of this extra workload," he said, referring to the increased contracting actions that would result. "We need to have a plan to execute. We need to manage the workload, apply the right resources, and hold our customers and ourselves accountable.
"You aren't going to get any more people and the workload isn't going away," he continued. "Focus on output. Match the workforce to the workload. Prioritize the workload then align the workforce to complete it. It's called leadership. It's called mission command, and I support you 100 percent."
Perna said he understood there are laws governing the contracting process but also believes the contracting process is encumbered with unnecessary policies and procedures.
"We need to unshackle ourselves from unproductive bureaucracy," he said, and offered his help, encouraging leaders to let him know what's slowing down the contracting process and how he can help. He also said contracting leadership should let him know when requested contracting actions may not be in the best interest of the Army.