Training closes proficiency gap with blanket purchase agreements
By Capt. Paul Kilgore, 900th Contracting BattalionApril 26, 2019
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (April 26, 2019) -- A recent training exercise led to the discovery that while many contracting Soldiers are experienced in making purchases against a blanket purchase agreement, few were capable of creating a master BPA.The 608th Contracting Team took on the opportunity to close the capability gap and enhance contracting proficiency across the 900th Contracting Battalion by developing and facilitating a hands-on approach to train officers and NCOs in the 51C military occupational series on how to manually and electronically create BPAs for future contingency or expeditionary Defense Support of Civil Authorities missions."Our contracting professionals must know how to manage existing BPAs and emplace new ones to allow commanders to use their 'money as a weapon system' and give themselves a tremendous capability," said Maj. Gary Croston, the battalion contract support operations chief.Staff Sgt. Jennifer Garland, a contracting NCO with the 608th CT, led the training and applied her extensive contracting experience to train her fellow teammates.The training was conducted in three phases. The first phase consisted of academics detailing the use characteristics of a BPA and procedures on administering a BPA program in both centralized and decentralized situation. The training also included embedded administrative documents and reference slides for mandatory clauses, all of which will add capability for contracting officer use in the creation and administration of BPAs.The second phase, deemed most critical, focused on the hands-on training in the creation of a manual BPA. For this phase, Garland created a real-life scenario for Soldiers to use as the basis for the manual master BPA. In addition, she created a writeable DD Form 1155, Order for Supplies or Services, with embedded clauses that Soldiers were able to use in situations where the contract writing system, Procurement Desktop-Defense, is not available."This phase is very important because the 900th CBN frequently responds to natural disasters or other situations where electronic methods of contracting may not be possible," said Capt. Steve Voglezon, and operations and contracting officer with the battalion.The final and third phase of the training entailed the electronic creation of a master BPA using Procurement Desktop-Defense contract writing system for use in garrison operations or contingency environments.Contracting team trainers consider the training a success as it enhanced Soldier skills and confidence in establishing a BPA for a variety of commodities or services in any environment, from garrison operations to DSCA missions.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.