JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 7, 2020) – The Secretary of the Army recently recognized two Mission and Installation Contracting Command members and a field directorate office for excellence in the contracting field in 2020.
Earning the recognition were Curtis Arthur II, a contract specialist with the MICC-Fort Eustis Contracting Office in Virginia, Estella Juarez, a procurement analyst from MICC-Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who is deployed to Afghanistan, and FDO-Fort Sam Houston at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, for their significant contributions in Army acquisitions.
Arthur is the 2020 Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contracting winner in the contracting officer category at the installation level. The award recognizes an individual at the installation level and or directorate of contracting office who demonstrates extraordinary achievements in completing the acquisition mission, using innovative approaches and furthering workforce development.
Arthur was recognized for his work in support of the Training and Doctrine Command and Installation Management Command. He led a team that completed 72 contract actions obligating $13.7 million from Oct. 1, 2019, through Aug. 31, 2020, that included the successful award of a long standing requirement for base operations services at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, valued at $121 million.
After completion of the base operations award, Arthur took responsibility as the contracting officer for another troublesome requirement following the retirement of the contracting officer administering the requirement. Arthur accepted the challenge for completing the Fort Sill Fires Center of Excellence multiple award indefinite-delivery, infinite quantity action valued at $247 million.
“Being recognized for this award is very wonderful and an honor to receive,” Arthur said “It shows others that hard work, dedication and being true to yourself can go a long way. I wouldn't be here without God, my old MICC office at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, my MICC-Fort Eustis family, my contracting team, and my mentors, Rhoda Harrison-Spence and Janice Addison.”
Juarez captured the 2020 Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence Barbara C. Heald Award. The award recognizes a deployed Army civilian in the 1102 career series whose actions clearly demonstrate or embody those unique, outstanding qualities possessed by Heald. This includes making extraordinary commitment and sacrifices in the service of their country; a demonstrated professionalism in contracting; and dedication to selfless public service aimed at supporting the Army mission. Heald was a DOD contract negotiator. She was killed in 2005 while deployed to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
“This was a complete surprise to me. Some of the best work that we do in this profession is the kind of work that is unseen. The rewards are found in knowing you are simply enabling a greater mission,” Juarez said. “I am both honored and humbled to receive this award. I am grateful that my family and command supported me in deploying.”
She also credits her home station colleagues who assisted her in preparing for her first deployment.
“Their commitment to this mission enabled me to deploy to Afghanistan; an obligation of service I'd watched many others fulfill but never done myself. Boarding a C-130 with deploying Soldiers in the darkness of night that first time will remain in my memory as one of my greatest privileges as an Army civilian,” she added. “The opportunity to be here working so close to the mission with so many other amazing people is something I will always remember.”
Juarez serves in a contingency environment supporting the procurement of critical infrastructure, support services and supplies for the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. She is responsible for the business clearance and oversight of policy reviews in support of this mission. She has been instrumental in troubleshooting systems administration issues necessary in supporting contracting and mission-oriented digital systems. Due to critical staffing shortages, she was the sole procurement analyst supporting both the Army Contracting Command-Afghanistan and Regional Contracting Center-Afghanistan acquisition missions, all the while keeping up with her demanding workload of supporting a four-star command through contracting analysis and developing briefing materials for the USFOR-A and Operation Resolute Support commanding generals.
While deployed for more than a year, Juarez enabled the award of 706 contract actions valued at $371.1 million for fiscal 2020. She was a key member of the COVID-19 working group in Afghanistan, enabling the detailed tracking and evacuation of contractors with the COVID-19 virus as well as ensuring the necessary personal protection equipment and test kits were procured. Juarez provided key input into the Contingency Contracting Administration Services and Logistics Civil Augmentation Program missions supporting the portfolio of 38 contracts valued in excess of $19 billion
Col. Jason Jefferis, the FDO-Fort Sam Houston director and senior contracting official, and his field directorate team earned the Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contracting Contingency Contracting Award. Jefferis and his team were recognized for performing nationwide contingency contracting support to the DOD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a multitude of defense support to civil authorities operations throughout the nation. The award recognizes units or teams from command nominees assigned to deployable contracting positions or who have deployed in support of an operation as defined by Title 10 U.S. Code during the qualifying period.
Despite having no previous operational mission assignments prior to March 2020, the senior contracting official for U.S. Army North quickly reorganized and mobilized to perform operational contracting support for the COVID-19 response across the country. Field directorate leadership managed the contracting support across the country as the entire ACC enterprise mobilized to support operations. All six CONUS-based contracting battalions and each of the ACC contracting offices were in direct support of response efforts. The FDO-Fort Sam Houston staff quickly deployed contingency contracting officers in one- to two-person teams forward to the point of need with reach-back office support from across the enterprise.
“We are honored by the recognition for our support to the nation during this crazy year. The field directorate office didn't have the operational mission before COVID-19 exploded in March of this year,” Jefferis said.
The FDO-Fort Sam Houston team also served as the lead service for contract coordination for the joint operation, coordinating efforts with joint contracting partners weekly. The team supported the mobilization and deployment of more than 10,000 support personnel and 4,000 joint medical service providers with critical life support contracts as they provided scalable support augmenting 47 different hospitals in 31 cities and 10 states across the country, while never having more than 16 total contingency contracting officers deployed from their home stations.
Building upon the success of initial COVID-19 response operations, the senior contracting officer operational mission remained under the FDO-Fort Sam Houston permanently. The team quickly found itself planning and coordinating operations in support of three separate efforts - a COVID-19 response, hurricane response in a COVID-19 environment, and continued support to southwest border operations and other emerging requirements.
“When Maj. Gen. Pardew mobilized the ACC enterprise to support the fight, it was humbling and exciting to help orchestrate the contracting support across the country,” Jefferis said. “It was a true team effort as we deployed military contingency contracting officers at echelon and assigned reach-back support from a contracting office closest to the need. Basically, we had military formations supported by MICC and ACC contracting activities, including New Jersey, Detroit, and Rock Island, and rewrote the playbook on how we support CONUS-based contingencies.”
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. As part of its mission, 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.