"Strategic Move Forward" was the theme for the Army Contracting Command's Commanders' and Directors' Offsite Conference at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, March 29-30. Participants included the commanding generals of the Expeditionary Contracting Command and the Mission and Installation Management Command, ACC contracting center executive directors and senior members of the ACC headquarters staff.

In his opening remarks, Jeff Parsons, executive director, ACC, set the stage for the conference. "We've come a long way since the command was established three years ago. We need to continue our momentum and build a comprehensive, integrated strategic plan that supports our vision of a professional workforce providing quality contracting solutions in support of our Warfighters."

Parsons cited the need for a campaign plan that "provides direction on how we engage to achieve our objectives with the agility to recognize emerging challenges and opportunities." He added: "This plan will guide the allocation of our resources, the design of our organization structure and the execution of our priorities." He said the plan will "lay the foundation for significant change over the next decade and identify actions and tasks that are near term building blocks for that change." He concluded: "The Campaign Plan will help all us work towards just that - enabling unprecedented support and service to our Warfighters."

The conference included presentations and group discussions that covered a wide range of subjects. On day one, Bryon Young, executive director of ACC Aberdeen - Army Proving Ground (Soldier, Chemical, Research and Test), provided an overview of a strategic sourcing initiative for laboratory and test equipment that will result in significant cost savings for the Army. Tim Grey, ACC's Human Capital director, discussed options for enhancing reassignment opportunities for current ACC employees. Brig. Gen. Joe Bass, commanding general of the Expeditionary Contracting Command, reviewed the status of the integration of military personnel throughout the ACC.

The second day focused on updates of selected command programs. Art Forster, director of Public and Congressional Affairs, reported on the command's strategic communications initiatives. Gino Magnifico, ACC's Chief Information Officer, outlined the path forward for establishing governance of the command's information technology enterprise. Gene Duncan, director of Strategic Initiatives, and Mike Thompson, chief of ACC's Virtual Contracting Enterprise, updated the senior leaders on the status of introducing VCE throughout the Army. Parsons underscored the value of VCE and urged his senior leadership team to promote use of these innovative online contracting tools by our contracting personnel.

The conference concluded with a Campaign Plan workshop conducted by Denise Price and Tony Green of the ACC Commander's Action Group. In addition to soliciting feedback on a draft plan that was distributed to all conferees, there was a general discussion about a new customer satisfaction survey that was presented to the group. The senior leadership team provided suggestions that will be incorporated in the next draft of the plan and the survey.

Parsons concluded the conference by paying tribute to Ed Elgart, retiring executive director of Army Contracting Command - Aberdeen Proving Ground (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance): "Ed Elgart is one of the true pioneers in Army contracting and will be sorely missed. During his long and distinguished career, Ed has been the consummate professional that we all looked up to. His expertise, can-do attitude and commitment to America's Soldiers are unmatched."