JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Feb. 28, 2019) -- Fiscal 2019 is passing fast, and our efforts for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Readiness Initiative continues to be our top priority. My vision for 2019 is to stabilize the MICC for the first six months as we complete the MRI process and hire folks and get them on board prior to the always demanding fourth quarter of the fiscal year.

Staffing accordingly across the MICC was critical than going through another fourth quarter with a degraded staff. Once hiring actions are complete, we will analyze the next phase of MRI toward the acquisition centers of excellence.

These centers of excellence are in line with the Army's decision to adopt portfolio management. My intent is to establish additional acquisition centers of excellence at two or three existing MICC sites and build up that supporting workforce. A good example of that would be the COE at Fort Sam Houston; we added higher-grade contracting personnel for continuity and ease of transitioning acquisitions back to the centers of excellence once large contracts were awarded. I want to put more GS-12 and -13s in the field so our 30 contracting offices have the capacity and capability to execute contracts at $15 million and below. We have analyzed our workload over the years, and 80 percent of all our contract actions is below the $15 million threshold. That is why I believe each contracting office should be able to manage to that level without having to push actions up to their respective brigade or field directorate office. Of course, there may be some contracts that may exceed that threshold, but that is to be determined by each office's manpower strength.

In addition, contracting offices that have the professional capacity to execute some contracting actions valued at more than the $15 million threshold could ask for, and receive, the necessary delegation from its respective contracting support brigade or field directorate office.

Our directorate of personnel is doing a fine job of hiring at most locations; however, we still have a few contracting offices where we need to work harder with local civilian personnel advisory centers on getting our 1102 positions filled. Maria Allen, the MICC deputy chief of staff for human resources, is coordinating with the local CPAC to ensure it understands the command's critical need to hire 1102s.

Forthcoming is another MICC major event in hosting of the Army Contracting Command Best Warrior Competition at Fort Hood, Texas, from April 28 to May 3. We look forward to supporting ACC's event. This is a great opportunity to showcase how vital contracting is to the Army mission and our finest Soldiers.

I'd like to thank everyone who joined us in person or via VTC in January to hear Stuart Hazlett, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement, and Maj. Gen. Paul Pardew, the Army Contracting Command commanding general, in a joint town hall.

The Army's acquisition executive stressed how portfolio management at the Army level is in line with our efforts toward centers of excellence and category management. He reminded us that contracting is a knowledge-based career field. There are 8,000 contracting professionals in the Army -- with about 960 in uniform and another 7,100 Army civilians -- all around the world. Without contracting professionals, the Army cannot keep rolling along.

The ACC commanding general further echoed those remarks. He stated that Army 51 Charlies and 1102s do more contract actions per capita than the other services, and Army contracting accomplishes the lion's share of actions and dollars.

Hazlett also emphasized that category management is about taking the collaboration of requirements, budget and acquisition, then making them work together. Phase II of our MRI is about further developing our category management.

With the emphasis of MRI Phase II zeroing in on centers of excellence as they align to pending Army portfolios outlined during a recent visit by the DASA (P), we can stabilize the MICC as we balance our workload. For the centers of excellence, MICC-Fort Eustis in Virginia executes all knowledge management-training contracts, MICC-Fort Hood is responsible for ranges and test centers, MICC-Fort Knox in Kentucky manages knowledge management professional services contracts, and MICC-Fort Sam Houston oversees all food service operations. In the coming year, we will make a determination with the Installation Management Command on the location for the COE to manage the facilities and construction portfolio.

We are nested with the priorities of the secretary of the Army, Army chief of staff, Army Materiel Command and ACC. All of our efforts are synchronized with the direction and focus of our Army, but we must continuously ensure everything we do is aligned to Army readiness, modernization and reform efforts.

In conclusion, the Army chief of staff selected me to be the next ACC deputy commanding general. In July, the MICC will welcome its next commander, Col. Christine Beeler, who is a brigadier-general select and an outstanding acquisition leader. I thank you for all your selfless service that reinforces the MICC as the Army standard for contracting; however, we still have a lot to do between now and July. Keep up the great work for our Army and Soldiers.

Contracting for Soldiers! With honor!