By Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public AffairsJuly 5, 2017
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- A collaborative group of Army acquisition managers came together recently to streamline major buying activities for Team Redstone.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command hosted the fifth Team Redstone Acquisition Managers, or TRAM, forum at the command's Redstone Arsenal headquarters June 22.
"The purpose of TRAM is to improve contracting actions by making the process more efficient, which inevitably gets support to the Warfighter quicker," said Diane P. Whitmore, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Command Acquisition Support Office chief. "TRAM is going to accomplish this through building relationships, sharing best practices, policies, training materials, and lessons learned with each other. We all see the value of working as a team and learning from our collective experiences.
"TRAM is also providing a forum to meet periodically with the Army Contracting Command - Redstone to discuss issues, systems and new initiatives," she added.
The TRAM Forum was attended by representatives from SMDC; U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, or AMCOM; U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center; the AMCOM Logistics Center, or ALC; the Prototype Integration Facility, or PIF; Program Executive Office Aviation; and PEO Missiles and Space; and other program offices on Redstone Arsenal. The forums meet every one-to-two months, as schedules allow, to discuss an agreed upon set of topics.
Adrianne Day, ACC-Redstone director, and Ben Henson, ACC-Redstone Customer Liaison Cell, were the invited guests at the TRAM meeting.
The forum was briefed on the Virtual Contract Environment, or VCE, Business Intelligence system, which integrates data from the contracts writing systems; the Federal Procurement Data System --Next Generation; VCE Paperless Contracting File; the Contracting Officer Representative, or COR, Tracking Tool; and manpower data into a single integrated acquisition database.
"We also discussed the results of the Team Redstone contracting officer representative, or COR, survey, which was sent to approximately 450 CORs in June," Whitmore said. "The results were overall very positive. CORs reported that their management and coordinating staff offices were very supportive."
The TRAM forum also provides joint training to CORs and ACC contracting officers, or KOs, to improve communication and address topics requested in the Team Redstone COR survey.
"The TRAM members decided early on to get workforce feedback on the need for COR and KO training, and to use their input to plan a collaborative training event at Team Redstone," Whitmore said. "The COR survey data identified common COR training needs. Stan Crittenden from the AMCOM Acquisition Cell is leading the effort to coordinate training topics with support from Defense Acquisition University and ACC.
"Team Redstone CORS are managing hundreds of Army contracts, valued at billions of dollars," she added. "It is very important that our CORs excel in their mission."
Whitmore said that to ensure that Team Redstone CORs excel, TRAM plans to repeat the survey on an annual basis.
With SMDC collaborating on several Team Redstone initiatives, such as the Cyber Security cell and the Chief Technology Officer Roundup, Whitmore and the command's CASO team used these initiatives as a template when they saw a need for a similar contracting forum.
As a result, CASO contacted their acquisition counterparts across Redstone Arsenal and hosted the first TRAM meeting Nov. 2, 2016.
"The TRAM forum is making a difference in the quality and efficiency of contracting on Redstone Arsenal," Whitmore said. "It also provides opportunities for senior acquisition managers to build relationships, and learn from one another. We discuss the implementation of new policies, compliance with reporting requirements, acquisition forecasting, and many other topics.
"TRAM also provides a one-stop shop for interacting with ACC-Redstone, and collaborating on policies and new initiatives," she added. "But remember, the main goal is to excel in contracting and facilitate getting products and services to the Warfighter as soon as possible."
A joint session of CORs and Army Contracting Command KOs will take place during the TRAM Acquisition Summit at Redstone Arsenal's Bob Jones auditorium July 31, 8 a.m. to noon.
"I see the TRAM forum as a wonderful opportunity for acquisition professionals across Redstone Arsenal and key leaders representing diverse perspectives to come together and share common concerns, lessons learned and develop forward strategies that would allow all organizations represented to support the Warfighter in a more efficient and effective way," Day said. "Quite often, we each get bogged down, too focused on our ownership in varying swim-lanes of the acquisition lifecycle, missing great opportunities to reduce rework or capture new ways of doing business together.
"This forum provides a venue where acquisition and contracting leaders from across Redstone Arsenal can not only network but, collaborate on innovative methods, processes and platforms to drive change and deliver quality in a harmonious, concerted way," she added.