PICATINNY, N.J. -- Responsible for executing the contracting mission of the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command and other federal agencies, the Army Contracting Command " Picatinny prides itself on providing contracting support that places the tools of war directly into the hands of warfighters worldwide.

Located in a picturesque corner of New Jersey's Picatinny Arsenal, the organization is one of the U.S. Army Contracting Command's six major contracting centers.

"We provide the full spectrum of contracting and acquisition advisory services in support of the Army's firepower and lethality requirements, inclusive of weapons, armaments and munitions systems and subsystem components," said Bruce B. Berinato, ACC " Picatinny executive director. "Execution of our mission includes contracting for all phases of research and development as well as initial and follow-on production and involves use of both FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) based contracts as well as non-FAR instruments such as cooperative agreements and other transactions."

"We continually strive to push the envelope in getting requirements awarded in expedited timeframes utilizing innovative approaches," said Paul Milenkowic, ACC-Picatinny deputy director.

One recent and noteworthy accomplishment for the team was the urgent fielding of the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative in Afghanistan.

"The technology within the round is a real game changer and our getting it awarded through the urgent material release process, fielded and delivered within a year is testimony to trying new approaches," Milenkowic said.

Using everything from cooperative research and development agreements to transitioning to FAR-based production contracts to working the process in parallel layers - executing one phase and at the same time planning for the next, the Northern New Jersey team ensures they do everything they can to get items to the warfighter as quickly as they can. Berinato said surrounding himself with talented people makes him believe anything is possible.

"One important aspect is having talented people that are naturally curious and like to seek knowledge. We believe many of our associates have this attribute and are truly top notch. Communication up, down and across contracting and the acquisition community really is helpful too. We have a high percentage of new associates in our center and they all quickly learn that they can't be in a position to know-it-all," he said. "So sharing and building a personal network becomes apparent and really important, no matter where you sit in the organization. The bottom line is listening, clearly communication, reading, knowledge sharing and more reading."

Like other contracting organizations within the government, it's been a challenge for ACC-Picatinny to develop and retain contracting officers

"We're aggressive in getting our employees' DAWIA (Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act) level training accomplished timely and ensuring they are gaining good work assignments and broad experiences. The hardest part is trying to figure out how to accelerate an individual's experiences as part of overall career development," Berinato said. "We've started a rotational developmental program involving assignments in a program management office and offices within the command. The end goal is to broaden some of our graduating intern's experiences in acquisition, build relationships with our core customers and based upon these experiences be a better educated buyer when they finish the assignment."