JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Aug. 16, 2018) -- Acquisition personnel at the Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Eustis Contracting Office, Virginia, procured exercise equipment in support of the Army's new physical fitness test.

The Army Center for Initial Military Training, at Fort Eustis, is implementing the new Army Combat Fitness Training Test in response to Army leaders recognizing a need to increase Soldier readiness.

Army officials announced in July the Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT, will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test with a gender- and age-neutral assessment that will more closely align with the physical demands Soldiers will face in combat. The testing program is designed to train and assess a Soldier's physical capacity to safely and effectively perform physically demanding warfighting tasks.

CIMT officials met with MICC-Fort Eustis acquisition personnel in June to discuss the requirement for equipment to support the fitness test. At that time, the requirement was still being developed as quantities, shipping locations, approvals, and funding were not finalized.

After their initial meeting with MICC contracting personnel, CIMT officials stated the award was needed this fiscal year. After the meeting, approval was given to proceed with procuring fitness equipment funding; however, shipping locations had not been decided.

CIMT officials provided a list of the salient characteristics and total quantities for each item that comprises a "set" that is required to complete the ACFT pilot test. The requirement was for 28 sets shipped to 28 locations.

"After Army officials announced the program and gave us their requirements, the attention for this program really amped up the time needed for us to get the contract award done sooner rather later," said Ricky Shannon, the MICC-Fort Eustis contracting officer for the requirement.

However, Army Forces Command officials added nine sets to nine locations to the order, and several other revisions were made to the requirement. Shannon and contract specialist William Jaeger moved quickly to meet the fast-approaching deadline.

"On July 9, we received an email stating field tests will begin Oct. 1," Shannon said. "This put us in a real time crunch. The vendors informed us a 16-week lead time was needed to manufacture and ship to 37 locations. However, our planned August award date would not give the manufactures enough time to produce and deliver the equipment by Sept. 30. Shipping the equipment in time was our biggest issue."

With Jaeger's assistance, Shannon was able to find a small business vendor that could manufacture and deliver the equipment by the Oct. 1 program start date. The contract award was completed on July 23 for approximately $1.1 million.

"With the contract award completed, the fitness equipment procured will best support the Army's fitness requirements and prepare our Soldiers for the physical demands place upon them in a contingency environment," Shannon said. "There really was no other way of getting this done without Jaeger really digging to find the small business vendor that could meet the delivering schedule. His tenacity really helped to get us on target for delivery to the customer."

Field tests for the ACFT begin in October 2018, and by October 2020 all Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers will be required to take the test.

About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists 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. The command is made up of two contracting support brigades, two field directorates, 30 contracting offices and nine battalions. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.