ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Army Contracting Command-Rock Island leadership and workforce members showed up in force at the TaxSlayer Arena, Moline, Illinois, May 22-23, to support the National Defense Industrial Association's 12th Annual Midwest Government Contracting Symposium.

Jay Carr, executive director, ACC-RI, served on a panel of Rock Island Arsenal leaders who presented briefings on their commands the morning of May 22. Carr focused on the importance of collaboration between the government and industry.

"Without our industry partners and requiring activities, there would be no reason for us to ever write a contract," said Carr. "We can't do what we do without you, so we clearly have a vested interest in letting you know what the requirements are, when they are coming forward, and give you all of the information that we can."

Carr also discussed ACC-Rock Island's unique, diverse customer portfolio which both challenges its acquisition professionals and creates many of the command's strongest, most responsible contracting specialists and officers. He expressed appreciation for his 520-employee strong workforce, confident that they know their jobs, customers and requirements.

Other panel members included Michael Hutchison, deputy to the commanding general, Army Sustainment Command; JoEtta Fisher, executive director for ammunition/deputy to the commander, Joint Munitions Command; Col. Stephen Marr, commander, RIA Garrison; Col. Kenneth Letcher, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center-RIA; and Col. Steven Sattinger, commander, Corps of Engineers-RIA.

Following the panel members' briefings, Hutchison introduced Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general, ASC, by enforcing the fact that there are no additional resources coming to ASC nor most other commands, so it's critical to work with contractors to figure out how to move forward.

"We really need your help and your ideas on how to be innovative," said Hutchison. "We need to figure out how to save costs while still delivering the same level of readiness, or increase readiness."

During his presentation on how RIA produces Army readiness, Gamble strongly echoed cost savings as a necessity.

He said there are three "states" revolving around readiness, two of which he is interested in - more readiness at same cost, or the same readiness at less cost -- and one he has no interest in: increased readiness at a higher cost.

"You will capture my attention, you will capture the attention of the people who work with me if you start off with, 'I have a proposition for you that will generate the more readiness at the same cost, or less cost for the same amount of readiness,'" said Gamble.

"Some of you are familiar with the notion that the Army has three dials that it can turn and if you turn one up, you have to turn the other two down," said Gamble. "It's Operation tempo, its readiness and it's modernization. Today in the Army, we've turned all three up simultaneously. Our Army is busier than it has ever been, we are modernizing our Army and we are holding ourselves to a very high state of readiness, so that's why we are wildly interested in reform."

The remainder of the Symposium largely focused on Advanced Planning Briefings for Industry from ACC-RI customers; industry-to-industry presentations; an overview briefing on section 809 Panel recommendations; a reverse industry panel that provided insights from former government representatives who now work in industry; and an Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise Q&A Panel, moderated by Lexie Bribriesco, branch chief, ACC-Rock Island.