WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 20, 2009) -- The Army conducted a live video-streaming contracting stand down Monday at the Pentagon that was broadcast to contracting officers at more than 500 locations worldwide.

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Dean G. Popps lauded the acquisition workforce as Aca,!A"civilian special forcesAca,!A? who help the military forces work the way they should on the battlefield.

"You have frequently been outgunned and outmanned in this last five- to seven-year period, but youAca,!a,,cve performed magnificently," Popps said. He added that other nations, especially in Central Asia, and the Middle East are trying to copy the U.S. military contracting system.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. kicked off the stand down telling contracting professionals that he sees Army contracting as a growth industry for military officers and civilians.

Aca,!A"YouAca,!a,,cre going to be the critical element to sustaining us in this environment and enabling us to react quickly to the future,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"Figuring it out, paying attention to detail and going forwardAca,!A|thank you for all that you do."

Lt. Gen. N. Ross Thompson, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology said across the Defense Department, the acquisition work force would grow by about 15 percent.

Aca,!A"That numbers 20,000 across DoD," Thompson said. He added that in the Army the contracting workforce would grow by between 5,000 and 6,000 professionals.

Thompson noted that growth in acquisition officers in the last four years was exclusively within the MTOE (modified table of equipment) structure inside of contracting brigades, battalions and teams.

Aca,!A"We have almost 300 officer spaces and over 300 noncommissioned spaces in the active component, and about 150 in both the National Guard and Reserve,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"And, so for the first time, weAca,!a,,cve got a noncommissioned officer corps in the acquisition workforce focused on acquisition skills Aca,!" primarily contracting Aca,!" and so, I think thatAca,!a,,cs critically importance because you need that balance, you need the balance of the military workforce, the civilian workforce and you need contractors.Aca,!A?

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement) Edward M. Harrington said the Army was working to get improved contracting business systems that would more holistically provide the contracting workforce and the requirements generators the ability to do more electronically.

Aca,!A"That would free us up and make the contracting process more efficient, and give us better information at each of our levels,Aca,!A? he said.

Also participating in the contracting stand down were:

-- Charlie Williams Jr., director of the Defense Contract Management Agency
-- Shay Assad, director of Defense Procurement
-- Levator Norsworth Jr., acting general counsel for procurement
-- Tracey L. Pinson, director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
and a host of other acquisition professionals.