By Ryan Mattox, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeMarch 5, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 5, 2018) -- A Mission and Installation Contracting Command headquarters directorate plays a key role with enhancing contract execution throughout the command, developing innovative process improvements, and creating data management tools for fact-based decision making by MICC senior leaders.
The MICC Directorate of Contracting Operations staff develops tools to assist contracting personnel across the country achieve mission readiness and act as dedicated focal points to interact with assigned field directorate offices and contracting support brigades to enhance contract execution.
The directorate is comprised of four divisions: policy and oversight, field support, procurement operations, business management as well as the Government Purchase Card program office and special advocate to competition.
The mission of tracking polices and providing oversight falls upon the directorate's policy and oversight division staff. It is their responsibility to provide relevant and timely acquisition policy support to MICC contracting offices, contracting support brigades and field directorate offices on a daily basis. They interface with the deputy assistant secretary for procurement and Army Contracting Command to disseminate their acquisition policies for implementation throughout the MICC.
As caretakers of oversight, the division maintains the MICC Desk Book, bi-weekly policy and compliance bulletins -- two resources acquisition professionals use routinely in the contracting process. The division also manages the command's warrant program appointments or delegations. Warrants are certificates of authority for contracting officers to enter into, administer and terminate contracts on behalf of the government. It also manages Section 852 funds, which the Army uses for acquisition training.
When it comes to measuring the command's performance, the business management division and its knowledge management branch focus their efforts on a set of contracting operations metrics to monitor and measure achieved actions identified as the focus of the command.
The use of metrics across the command has helped leadership manage the contracting workload executed at each installation. This functionality has increased the visibility of the contract execution and effectiveness with which that workload is managed across the command.
"At all levels of our organization we must maximize our opportunities and efficiency to preserve our fiscal resources," said Pat Hogston, the MICC CONOPS director. "Through the use of command metrics, we have adopted objective standards to increase our overall readiness and improve the accuracy of readiness reporting."
One metric area the business management division tracks is overdue contractor performance assessment reports. CPARs collects contractor performance information and passes it to the Past Performance Information Retrieval System. This system is used as a resource in helping determine the award of best value contracts and orders to contractors that consistently provide quality, and on-time products and services that conform to contractual requirements.
In response to the command's evolving organizational structure, the division created the MICC Commander and Director Office Guide to assist with stability and continuity within a contracting office.
"The MICC has undergone several transformations to become a more efficient and effective contracting organization," said Kim Wentrcek, chief of the business management division. "The MICC Commander and Director Office guide was created to improve operational and systematic continuity for field office senior leadership."
The guide is for both incoming and existing leaders. It touches upon the resources available to the manager to execute their mission. The guide covers topics from managing personnel to contract execution.
This division also found a solution to the need for a centralized repository for training by creating the MICC Academy. The academy is a one-stop SharePoint site that hosts a variety of training materials designed to assist the workforce. The academy allows users to access existing training courses as well as the latest up-to-date training, on-demand training, and training development resources, including templates for student and instructor guides, presentations, and other training and supplemental materials.
The field support division is a portal entry for field offices to receive support from the directorate. The division provides acquisition support and assistance with advanced procurement planning; implementation and execution of all contracts requiring the principal assistant responsible for contracting; head of contracting activity or a higher-level approval and review all actions requiring approval. The division staff also facilitates processing of all unauthorized contract actions above $100,000, and tracks trends and develops metrics to identify any systemic issues. The division staff develops and implements standardized contracting tools, processes and procedures in support of conducting pre- and post-award peer reviews and contract execution. The division provides support to acquisition teams for PARC- and HCA-level acquisitions, high-interest programs, and other major complex acquisitions identified by MICC leadership.
"We do acquisition planning, develop requests for proposals and source selection evaluation criteria, proposal evaluations, audits and issue resolutions to assist contracting offices in the field," Hogston said. "There is also acquisition status reporting for higher-level review planning and execution. This is to ensure we provide a compliant and timely pricing oversight and assistance program."
The procurement operations division assists with contracting support and advanced procurement planning, implementation, and execution of contracts that requiring PARC, HCA or higher-level approval. The staff is also charged with conducting pre- and post-award clearance reviews. The division manages the quality assurance and pricing oversight programs.
"The procurement operations staff is always looking for ways to improve our performance as a command. They have developed and implemented standardized contracting tools, processes and procedures for contract execution," Hogston said. "We are always collecting, analyzing and incorporating acquisition lessons learned to increase efficiency and provide timely acquisitions."
When Soldiers and civilians need to pay for goods and services that do not require a contract, the MICC Government Purchase Card program office supports them by administering and monitoring the program that issues purchase cards used by Army personnel to make these purchases. The program ensures the development of policy, oversight and program guidance for the small-dollar purchasing needs of the Army.
To ensure the command's contracting officers are promoting full and open competition when soliciting offers and awarding contracts. The directorate provides a special advocate for competition to monitor these situations. The advocate is responsible for maintaining a competition program, which promotes the acquisition of commercial items, promotes full and open competition. The advocate also challenges requirements that are not stated in the terms of a contract to be performed, the performance required, or essential physical characteristics, and challenges barriers to competition.
Even though the directorate of contracting operations is divided into many divisions and offices, it still can be found under one roof. It is a one-stop resource to support acquisition professionals and the command's ability to provide mission readiness for Army Soldiers and civilians to support our nation's interests at home and abroad.
The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, MICC contracts are vital in feeding Soldiers every day, providing many of the daily base operations support services at installations, preparing conventional force members, training almost a half million students each year, and maintaining government lands and structures across the United States and Puerto Rico.