FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Army News Service, Oct. 8, 2009) -- The Army celebrated the official full operational capability of the Army Contracting Command with a ceremony Thursday on the parade field at Fort Belvoir.

ACC was created after the need for a dedicated Army contracting command was identified in a 2007 independent report, "Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management In Expeditionary Operations," also known as the Gansler Commission Report.

Established under the Army Materiel Command, ACC brought contracting capabilities from existing Army organizations into a new structure that focuses on professional, ethical, efficient and responsive contracting operations. In just two short years, the command has significantly improved Army contracting and the prudent use of taxpayer dollars, officials said.

Hosted by Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, AMC commander, the ceremony represented the culmination of two years of planning and execution.

"Many folks don't fully understand the importance of contracting to the military," Dunwoody said. "Papers and newscasts talk about contracting all the time. But the real story is often overlooked. Our Army cannot function without contractor support. Contractors deliver the materiel we use to execute our mission - materiel that makes our forces the best equipped Army in the world."

ACC is composed of two subordinate commands, the Expeditionary Contracting Command headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., and the Mission and Installation Contracting Command headquartered at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. ACC also has seven major contracting centers which support AMC's other major subordinate commands and Life Cycle Management Commands.

ACC is moving forward aggressively on all of the 22 actions recommended in the Gansler Report, officials said. They said ACC will increase in workforce size up to about 1,400 military and civilian personnel over the next three years to ensure it has both the quality and quantity necessary to execute its contracting mission.

"Today is a historic event. Not because we are recognizing the full operational capability of a new command, but because we are demonstrating to our OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) leadership, our Congress, and the American taxpayer that the Army leadership is continuing to take steps to regain their confidence in Army contracting, and ensuring that it becomes one of our core competencies," said Jeff Parsons, Army Contracting Command executive director.

"You have my commitment that I will continue to implement the vision set forth in the Gansler Commission Report -- ensuring that contracting is a core competency of the Army, that we will be prepared to provide world-class contracting capability in expeditionary operations and during times of peace, and that we will regain the confidence of our Congress and the American public in the execution of our fiduciary responsibilities."