JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (March 31, 2017) In my travels to meet leaders across the Army, commanders and senior leaders everywhere consistently tell me that they continue to receive outstanding contracting support from our Mission and Installation Contracting Command team. That is a testament to every member of our team because each of you remain committed to our vital and relevant acquisition role in delivering readiness to our Soldiers every day.

Ensuring our Soldiers remain the best-equipped, best-trained fighting force in the world requires that we, as a learning organization, adapt with the changes to deliver the responsive goods and services necessary to support our Soldiers while delivering materiel readiness for our Army.

When I first came to the MICC in December 2013, I realized there was not a singular method of keeping track of our contracting actions across our enterprise. After visiting numerous MICC offices, we discovered that the innovative Fort Belvoir team was using an application that tracked individual contracts, cached all reports and provided a dashboard so users and leaders could easily see what they had and the status of every action in a snapshot.

The Contracting Tactical Operations Center application was developed by a contracting office for a contracting office to better manage contracting operations and enhance customer support and contract management. In order to give MICC leaders the ability to better manage their workload, we implemented CTOC across all MICC offices. CTOC allowed leaders to visually capture the workload broken down to individual contracting officers and specialists, by divisions, and across the entire contracting office. Because the MICC manages more than 30,000 contracting actions every year, CTOC gave the MICC a single enterprise system that provides online, real-time, actionable procurement data to address the challenges of a geographically dispersed command, including; acquisition training, managerial capabilities and resourcing levels.

CTOC also allowed leaders to better understand how efficiencies can be realized by modernizing systems to overcome shortfalls in our contract management processes and gain increased visibility on actions and outcomes executed by each office. You cannot manage what you cannot see, and CTOC allowed leaders to see everything being accomplished and where it was in the procurement process. Through CTOC, everyone from the contract specialist all the way to the commander had at their fingertips an accurate status of a contract action at any given time. During the first year of use, the ability to see the pre-award workload paid big dividends for the MICC and the Army when the MICC met all of its small business goals for the first time ever.

While CTOC was beneficial for the MICC, Army leaders had the goal of one single system for reporting the status of procurement actions so leaders at all levels can have visibility of the production workload. Army leadership selected the Virtual Contracting Enterprise-Paperless Contract File as the one solution to the many acquisition challenges, and CTOC played a revolutionary role in affecting changes to VCE by recapitalizing our successes to make the management tool the best product available for the acquisition community.

What does this mean for our workforce? Most users have had to access the VCE-Paperless Contract Files application and load their contracting related documents, and then take the additional step of loading comments and milestones into CTOC. When the VCE-PCF is fully operational Oct. 1, users will be able to do it all in VCE-PCF. All documents, milestone reporting and comments will be incorporated into one system saving time and effort while increasing efficiency. The majority of our workforce -- our contracting officers and contract specialists -- will now only have one system for all actions. Gone will be the days where you have to input data into one system and then other data into another system. This is a great advantage for all Army users as adapting to VCE-PCF reduces touch time and is a more efficient way of doing business.

The good news for the MICC workforce is that critical functionalities of CTOC, such as the ability to forecast, is being imported into VCE. The developers are working on an improved VCE-PCF now. In addition, as of November 2016, VCE has introduced dashboards thru the use of a program called QLIC. QLIC is similar to the dashboard application leaders have become accustomed to in CTOC. Acquisition professionals across the Army will now have that ability thanks to the innovation of CTOC.

CTOC also helped shape the standardization of VCE. It is because of the great efforts that MICC members made with CTOC that VCE developers were able to see the benefits. The final VCE application, due out to production by Oct. 1, will have incorporated many features of CTOC. Everyone who worked in the development and improvement of CTOC should be proud that the contract management system was groundbreaking in the implementation of change that will be felt across the entire Army acquisition community.

VCE is being adopted by the Medical Command, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard Bureau and others as the standard for acquisition excellence. VCE will provide standardization across the enterprise while providing ACC the oversight for all of its contracting and workforce data.

Development of VCE-PCF should be complete by mid-April, and on June 15 the critical CTOC functionality will be accessible in VCE-PCF. Our current training plan will have an administrator from every office travel to a centralized training site during the week of June 19 to participate in thorough training on the new functionality. We are looking for an efficient training method so that everyone in the MICC will have a grasp of VCE prior to the beginning of the fourth quarter. Every MICC member will be trained by Oct. 1. From that date, all MICC members will use VCE as the only method for acquisition management. The MICC will offer Defense Collaboration System training in October for anyone who needs further online training.

The affordability and standardization of one system are the main reasons Army leadership decided to use an updated version of VCE as the program of choice for the future, and this is a beneficial move for the Army acquisition community as a whole.

In closing, let me congratulate Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O'Neal on her selection to be the next command sergeant major for Joint Munitions Command. She has served the MICC with distinction and championed the 51C military occupational specialty throughout the Army. The command sergeant major did a tremendous job developing professionalism for all of our NCOs while setting the example for all leaders across the command. She departs for JMC at the end of April, and I have been honored to have such a superior battle buddy who provided excellent mentorship for MICC Soldiers. On behalf of the MICC, I wish her the best as she will lead Soldiers who provide munitions to all U.S. military services.