By Daniel. P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeApril 24, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (April 24, 2019) -- An executive approach to training as part of a pilot course is yielding a better understanding of contingency contract administration services by battalion and brigade leaders.
The cooperative training effort is being taken by the Army Contracting Command and Mission and Installation Contracting Command's 902nd Contracting Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. CCAS is the management, oversight and execution of contracts in a contingency environment.
Lt. Col. Rich Downs, a deputy division chief in ACC's contract administration division, led the development of the course. He said the idea for the course initially came about at the direction of Maj. Gen. Paul Pardew while previously serving as commander of the former Expeditionary Contracting Command. Downs said an existing two-week course focused on complexities of CCAS at the contracting team level but did not offer instruction for commanders and their staffs. The executive approach taken in the pilot course March 12-13 targeted acquisition leadership by providing an overview of roles and responsibilities instead of the particulars of conducting inspections and filling out forms.
"We considered that battalion and brigade commanders and their staffs did not need to know how to specifically administer a specific external support contract but needed to understand how contracting teams executed contract administration, quality assurance and government property administration," Downs said. "Commanders also needed to understand how to convey CCAS affects to leadership."
Greg Davidson, an operations and training specialist at MICC-Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said the concept for the course proved to be good timing.
"With funding in hand, we started to coordinate in earnest for a March 2019 date," Davidson said. "During coordination it became evident that headquarters 902nd CBN would be deploying so the commander asked if we would be the guinea pigs for a new executive-level course in development that targets battalion- and brigade-level headquarters overseeing the CCAS mission in theater."
Lt. Col. Kevin Shilley, commander of the 902nd CBN and deputy director for MICC-JBLM, said the course allowed unit members to develop a general understanding of key CCAS functions as well as the contract receipt and review process.
"The CCAS executive training course is a critical element of the pre-deployment training for our unit. Instructors provided us with real-world scenarios, pitfalls and possible solutions to issues presented to them while performing CCAS duties," Shilley said. "It provided the battalion staff with practical exercises to apply the training and the first opportunity to work together in duties in which they assume while deployed. The information will make the battalion staff better at the management and oversight of the CCAS mission while deployed."
Downs said some of the course material covered in the executive CCAS course is already included in instruction at the pre-command course; however, he is working with the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence to determine which content should be included in professional military education.
Course developers and trainers also gleaned from development of the pilot course that future iterations should entail increased scenario-based exercises and fewer slides. They hope to accomplish updates to content and delivery in time to train leaders from the 919th Contracting Battalion at Fort Bliss, Texas, this June.
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.