By Ms. Gale Lynne Smith (ACC )March 11, 2011
Senior Army Contracting Command leaders and a group of industry representatives came together on Feb. 24 at ACC headquarters on Fort Belvoir, Va., for the first meeting of the ACC Industry Executive Council.
The council is a forum to exchange information, identify common issues, build partnerships and develop solutions to move ACC even further in its quest to improve Army contracting.
"We have been planning this for over a year and now it aligns very nicely with DoD's recent Better Buying Power Initiatives,' said Jeff Parsons, ACC's executive director. "We're here to gain a common understanding of how we can work together to face future challenges, including anticipated cutbacks in the Army budget."
Dr. Ashton Carter, the undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, announced a series of Better Buying Power Initiatives last November. These initiatives include targeting affordability and controlling cost growth, incentivizing productivity and innovation in industry, promoting real competition, improving tradecraft in the acquisition of services, and reducing non-productive processes and bureaucracy.
In addition to these Department of Defense initiatives, the attendees discussed a recent Office of Management and Budget "Myth Busting" memorandum, which recommends that "each agency develop a high-level vendor communication plan." The establishment of ACC's Executive Industry Council is a significant step in that direction.
The council is comprised of senior contracting executives from both ACC's large business partners and the small business community. According to Christopher Evans, deputy associate director, ACC Office of Small Business Program, "For small businesses to have a seat at the council table shows true commitment by Mr. Parsons and the ACC leadership to our small business community. It's imperative that small businesses have a voice, as well as a vote, when decisions are being made."
One initiative the council will explore at future meetings is the possibility for ACC contracting professionals to train with industry, which would allow them to gain better insight into industry's acquisition and contracting processes, and further the business relationship.
The council decided to meet three times a year. The next meeting is planned for this summer.
ACC will update the council's activities on the ACC public web site at www.acc.army.mil and articles will appear in the command's magazine, ACC Today.
(Melissa Garcia and Regina Foston contributed to this article.)