By Daniel P. Elkins, U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting CommandApril 28, 2011
The Mission and Installation Contracting Command is increasing its effectiveness and efficiency by transforming and restructuring its mission and installation contracting offices under mission contracting centers. The first to be established is the Mission Contracting Center-Fort Eustis, Va.
According to Brig. Gen. Stephen B. Leisenring, MICC commanding general, the transformation aims to improve support for major generating force commands and synchronize contracting within the Army enterprise.
The Fort Eustis location is the first of eight mission contracting centers projected to stand up by the end of 2011 and comes as part of the continuing efforts to improve customer service and workload distribution as well as established an effective span of control.
Aligned under the MCC-Fort Eustis is the Fort Eustis mission contracting office and installation contracting offices at Carlisle Barracks, Penn., Jackson, S.C., Fort Lee, Va., Fort Gordon, Ga., and Fort Benning, Ga.
Headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the MICC also plans to stand up contracting centers at Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Belvoir, Va., in the June timeframe. Other MCCs projected to stand up later this year are at Fort Sam Houston and Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Fort Knox, Ky., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
"Creating mission contracting centers, with each customer focused, will allow us to not only better organize, but also incorporate contracting into the planning process of our customers," said Pat Hogston, MICC Contract Support, Plans and Operations director. "It will also allow us, as a command, to become more efficient and effective as it will help us standardize our processes."
Each MCC will have approximately 15 to 20 employees, based on workload, and made up of a command and control element, contract operations, administrative operations and special staff. Hogston said each center will be aligned and focused on supporting a primary customer base. For instance, MCC-Fort Eustis and MCC-Fort Leavenworth will be supporting the Army Training and Doctrine Command. Other customers supported by the MICC include the Army's Forces Command, Reserve Command, Military District of Washington, Human Resources Command, and Test and Evaluation Command.
Hogston said the standup of the MICC MCC-Fort Eustis went very smoothly and credited planning and its leadership.
"One of the keys was establishing an integrated process team that consisted of the G-staff and all the key players necessary to address issues immediately and at the proper level of expertise," Hogston said. "The IPT developed criteria and utilized a strategic approach to prioritize the stand up of each MCC."
Several considerations went into the team's decision making process to include the order in which the MCCs are stood up and continued support for the MICC's major customers. Following that process, specific IPTs were established to address the actual execution of standing up each MCC.
The initial team benefited from existing contracting personnel at Fort Monroe, Va., and Fort Eustis who were impacted by the BRAC decision and had leadership assets readily available to stand up the MCC.
Deb Emerson is the director of the MICC MCC-Fort Eustis. As the manager of nine installation contracting offices, she was involved in the day-to-day business operation and acquisition mission for more than 50 percent of the offices now included in the MCC.
Emerson along with deputy director Sue Gonser have played a critical role in the transformation process by serving as advisors on individual working groups formed for each MCC. Emerson said the MICC MCC-Fort Eustis has served as a beta test for other centers and lessons learned are shared during weekly communication between IPT members, which prove highly beneficial to the implementation timeline and reduces duplication of work.
"While each MCC will differ according to the mission set assigned, they will have many similarities in structure and authorities," Emerson said. "We have identified many areas for which standardized procedures and processes will greatly benefit all and are developing these approaches through our working groups."
Among the challenges the team tackles for each MCC is the recruitment of qualified personnel and sufficient facility space. Hogston said that because facilities are very tight on all installations, they are seeking available space as an interim solution with a long-term goal of creating a campus that incorporates all MICC contracting assets on the installation in the same building.
Emerson said the new level of management also offers a necessary reduction in the span of control for command and procurement authority.
"Maximizing delegable procurement authority optimizes efficiencies that reduce timelines, increase opportunities to make sound business solutions at the enterprise level, and improve the quality of our acquisitions," Emerson said. "Powering down command and control to the lower level at the MCC enables us to move resources and assignments to balance labor and workload across the MCC. It also enables us to become one integrated team with our customers by achieving a more complete understanding of the mission role of our acquisitions in the Army generating force cycle, improving our execution."
The MICC is responsible for planning, integrating, awarding and administering contracts in support of Army commands, direct reporting units, U.S. Army North and other organizations to provide the best value for the mission, Soldiers and their families.