JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (June 25, 2018) -- As we continue to posture the Mission and Installation Contracting Command to best support our customers, it's critical that we continue to share with you regular updates on the progress being made with the MICC Readiness Initiative.

To achieve the highest success with this initiative, I divided my command into a two-year picture. Over the first six months, I evaluated processes that were really important and those that can better deliver mission capability to our supported customers to meet the Army's priorities. Most of the initial discussions leading up to the implementation of the MICC Readiness Initiative, or MRI, began at the command level.

One of the first decisions was to rescind MICC 2025, which converted 200-plus positions in the 1102 contracting career series to 1105 purchasing agents across our command. Through analysis, we found that as a consequence of MICC 2025, we were losing some of our command's most experienced people through a protracted implementation process as well as some of our customers who sought alternate contracting organizations for support. MRI restores the number of 1102s in our organization, and allows the MICC to recover its customer base.

The intent of MRI is to push more authority down to our tier two and tier one offices to allow them to better support the customers, because that's what our customers are requesting. This includes empowering the right people to make decisions at the appropriate levels. When the sergeant major and I conduct operational visits to our field offices, we're hearing from customers that they want to use the MICC, but the command did not have the same stability it once had. This is why we're rebuilding our 1102 career series structure, which will also open up new opportunities to many of you.

None of the offices will return to the pre-2014 staffing levels. Most offices will see gains in personnel above the current staffing levels. MRI offers a healthier solution to staffing. The key tenet of MRI is to return staffing levels and procurement decision making authority to the local office director and his or her staff. The headquarters has conducted staff analysis and determined that the bulk -- about 80 percent -- of the workload associated with most non-center level offices falls in the less than $15-million range. Therefore, local office directors and commanders will have full authority to plan, execute and manage the full range of support below the $15-million level and, in coordination with their respective brigade commander or field directorate office director, contracts of greater value, based upon need and capability.

Next, I turned to our human resource and resource management directors at the headquarters to align that structure with the workload. This will not happen all at once as we continue to finalize grade plates that synchronize with the increased contract authority under MRI. Some changes to personnel may be accomplished over multiple years as we wait for transition points to move full-time equivalents around accordingly.

MRI also entails a strategic approach to rebalance the number of 1105s in the command. I greatly appreciate what they bring to our mission. Included in this strategic approach is the command's ability to leverage those across the MICC enterprise performing cost-price analysis, quality assurance, property management and Government Purchase Card functions.

Determining the right staffing levels in support of this initiative has all been accomplished by working closely with leaders at the brigade and field directorate level. In turn, they have reviewed workload and workforce requirements with commanders and directors at all levels.

Now that we're a quarter into the year that follows my initial assessment, the focus of MRI is squarely on implementation. Many of the staffing decisions are now in effect and was accomplished without the loss of any jobs. We are now hiring against requests for personnel actions that have been submitted to civilian personnel advisory centers. The workload support for the Army Reserve Command has already transferred to the 419th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Bragg and its subordinate offices. Fort Polk has also realigned under the 418th CSB.

The structure for FDO-Fort Belvoir has been established and discussions on end-of-year closeout, onboarding, and the ability to perform left-seat, right-seat training continue. I anticipate FDO-Fort Belvoir to be fully operational in the second quarter of fiscal 2019. FDO-Fort Sam Houston will remain operational through this fiscal year.

Key in this entire process is transparency. I've communicated frequently with brigade and field directorate leaders and have shared my thoughts on MRI at town halls, during operational visits to the field and through video updates to the workforce. I'm always open to your feedback but ask that you first seek answers to your questions from your leadership and those at the brigade and FDO level as they make decisions in line with my guidance.

In regard to category management and the 165 requirements greater than $15 million, these requirements will be "categorized" into six portfolios. In concert with the six portfolios, the MICC will stand up centers of excellence for each portfolio. The initial center of excellence for food services has stood up at Fort Sam Houston.

As we near the end of the implementation phase, the final six months of my command will serve as a glide path to gauge successes realized through MRI and make minimal adjustments. Your continued support for MRI and communication with our customer base on how we are better positioned to meet their mission needs remain a vital element of this initiative.

In May, Department of the Army officials required every organization to provide manpower positions to support modernization efforts in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, with 15 billets coming from the MICC. Our goal is to realign the manpower positions through attrition as those adjustments are implemented in FY20 and FY21. We wanted to make sure no one lost a job while continuing the momentum to support the MRI.

In closing, I'd like to thank every MICC employee for all the hard work and sacrifices to provide efficient and effective contracting solutions for our Army. With the fourth quarter looming, let's make sure we are all prepared to execute end-of-year operations successfully. Contracting for Soldiers! With honor!