FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- As the staffs of Army leaders across the country work feverishly to obligate more than $30 billion in funds during the final quarter of fiscal 2011, a team of contracting professionals here has been assembled to ensure their requirements are met.Mission and Installation Contracting Command officials established a fusion cell made up of functional experts from the MICC to liaise with the command's major customers. The cell includes members from the contract support, plans and operations division; the chief information office's business management division; and mission contracting center directors located regionally throughout the country.Customers also making up the virtual cell include resource management, or G-8, representatives from the headquarters of U.S. Army's Installation Management Command, Forces Command, Army Training and Doctrine Command as well as other Army commands and direct reporting units."The fusion cell will help maximize the flow of communication concerning changes in the status of funding, priorities or status of contract completion and award efforts," said Pat Hogston, director of the MICC CSPO. "By maximizing this coordination, the MICC will be able to accomplish a successful end-of-year closeout for its customers."The $30 billion in under-obligated funds this fiscal year is a result, in part, to the limited access to those funds because of the Continuing Resolution Act. It is twice what Army leaders had to spend in the last quarter of fiscal 2010 and represents an anticipated workload that is doubled from a year ago at MICC contracting centers and offices throughout the country.MICC officials asked members of contracting offices in July to begin working closely with their customers and resource managers to determine an anticipated contracting workload in preparation for the 2001 closeout schedule. The Army Budget Office in conjunction with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service established staggered fiscal 2011 closeout dates of either Sept. 28, 29 or 30 for all commands.Requirements unable to be executed at the field level should be coordinated with regional mission contracting centers, which may avail resources and support. If necessary, the MCCs will elevate the requirement to the MICC fusion cell."Contract officers and specialists need to be intimately involved in knowing what unfinanced requirements their customers are actively working to have funded so that customers have a realistic expectation if those requirements can be executed," Hogston added.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.