By Ed Worley, Army Contracting CommandMarch 20, 2017
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama (March 16, 2017)--Army Contracting Command will be viable for a long time, assured ACC's commanding general during a global town hall meeting here.
Maj. Gen. James Simpson made the comment in response to the question, "What is ACC doing to remain relevant to (Army Materiel Command)…," submitted through the commander's anonymous email program. Simpson fielded more than 15 questions submitted through anonymous emails and texts. ACC units worldwide--from Afghanistan to Korea--connected to the March 16 town hall by VTC and telephone conference calls.
"ACC's mission is much broader than just supporting AMC's logistics and sustainment missions," Simpson said. "Contracting is a key enabler for the (Army) chief of staff's priorities and ACC's role in delivering that capability will not change."
He said ACC's six weapon systems centers obligate more than 85 percent of ACC dollars. Program executive offices, program managers, various Army Research and Development Command operations and testing communities associated with materiel development are primary customers. He also pointed to the Expeditionary Contracting Command's direct engagement with combatant commands "to ensure their warfighting requirements are being satisfied."
"Operationalizing contracting means that the focus of contracting is to deliver the outcome that is right for the Army," he emphasized. "It's not about the dollars we obligate, or the number of actions we execute; it is about the outcomes we provide for Soldiers.
"We have started to change the culture to focus on operationalizing contracting by synchronizing and integrating contracting capabilities to deliver readiness and focus on outputs, not dollars or actions or statistics," he said.
Contracting is a capability; not a process, he added. It involves early engagement and proactive participation with requiring activities--ACC's customers. It also involves training for requirements developers, anticipating "slow-go" friction points, managing risks, tracking and managing cycle time, leveraging centers of excellence and reachback, and institutionalizing contract administration across the force. Mission command and disciplined execution are vital to success, he said.
"Contracting is a team sport," added Simpson. "We have to partner early with our requiring activities to help them develop the most appropriate acquisition strategies and craft high-quality requirements packages."
He said he's had the opportunity over the last 20 months to see first-hand ACC's people in action.
"I'm impressed by what you do every day for our Army."
He also updated participants on the ACC Campaign Plan, announcing that he expects the plan to be released by July 1, reminded them that Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2017--"our Super Bowl"--started this week at Fort Bliss, Texas, and told them to be thinking now about the fiscal year-end closeout process.
Col. Ralph Williams, ACC deputy chief of staff, Human Capital G-1, updated participants on the status of the federal hiring freeze. He said ACC has submitted and will continue to submit requests for hiring freeze exceptions for positions deemed mission critical and which affect Army readiness.
Kathy Jordan, ACC deputy chief of staff, Resource Management G-8, talked about a "skinny budget," explaining the current fiscal outlook has a lot of unknowns and managers must prudently manage funding.
Simpson opened and closed the global town hall by thanking ACC Soldiers, civil servants and their families for their support.
"We could not do what we are doing without you and your families," he said. "You are doing the heavy lifting here, but someone is doing the heavy lifting at home. Please tell your families that Maj. Gen Simpson says 'thank you.'"