By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 14, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Feb. 14, 2019) -- The Mission and Installation Contracting Command is set to roll the first official offering of a cost realism analysis workshop for cost-price analysts Feb. 20 and 21 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, following a successful training pilot in January.
The workshop is the effort of the Defense Acquisition University Midwest Region in partnership with the Army Contracting Command, ACC-Orlando and MICC, with support from the DAU South Region. Cost-price analysts are responsible for applying extensive pricing, financial and estimating techniques in the evaluation and negotiation of acquisitions to ensure the government obtains the best value.
"The purpose of this effort is to establish an improved common understanding of this core competency, which is essential to fostering consistency and standardization in our processes, and enable effective cross-leveraging of resources to negotiate quality contracts at a reasonable and realistic cost," said Virginia Mitchell, a procurement analyst from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, who led the development for ACC.
Composed of four parts, Mitchell explained that the workshop provides integrated instruction on regulations, procedures, and best practices for conducting cost, price and fundamental realism analysis. Concepts presented in the workshop are reinforced through analysis of a half-day case study on the final day of training.
Raul Guerra, the cost-price functional manager for the MICC Procurement Operations Division at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, assisted in developing the course curriculum. DAU led the lecture piece while Guerra provided the case study based on a recent acquisition awarded by the MICC.
"This training is specifically designed for competitive acquisitions where a cost-reimbursement contract is being awarded under source selection procedures," Guerra said. "The case study really brings it home by placing it in a realistic setting. We discuss everything from the beginning of the solicitation, through the evaluation process, award decision, and even some 'what ifs' following an award, to address some risks from potential protests."
Guerra said the pilot workshop, conducted at Redstone Arsenal, included procurement analysts and senior cost-price analysts from the local area to test the material and help refine the delivery of instruction. Next week's workshop at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston is primarily for participants from the MICC but also will include local students from the Army Medical Command and Air Force Installation Contracting Agency.
"We had enough interest in this specific type of training that we could have filled the training room three times over. That's an indication that folks really want and need this training," he added.
Guerra said instruction is geared toward journeyman level and seasoned price analysts, contracting officers, procurement analysts and reviewers involved with larger-dollar, competitive contract source selections. A source selection involves the evaluation of competitive bids or proposals before the government enters into certain contracts. He added this type of training should benefit the Army through the timely award of contracts while reducing the number of corrective actions or protests related to those acquisitions.
"It will avoid any rework and unnecessary delays in awards, all of which leads to savings," Guerra said. "It saves not only resources on the government's part, but on the contractor's part as well because of any missteps in the evaluation process."
The MICC functional manager added that another key benefit to the training is the introduction of applicable case study materials for cost-price analysts evaluating contracts for services.
"One of the reasons I was primarily interested in participating in this project was because, generally, much of the past training has focused on systems buys," Guerra said. "This particular case study is services-oriented and reflects very closely much of the source selection work we do across the MICC."
Further supporting concepts presented in the workshop will be two videos produced the DAU Midwest Region that cover basic principles of cost realism analysis and probable cost adjustments expected to be available this month. Once produced, the videos will serve as workshop preparation for participants. DAU also plans to make instruction from the workshop part of its regular catalogue offerings.
"This workshop represents the culmination of concerted efforts from key participants across the ACC, MICC and DAU Midwest and is one more resource to support knowledge sharing relative to a core function necessary to ensuring the government's continued ability to obtain best value," said Mitchell.
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. 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.