CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Soldiers of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command put their Contracting Officer Representative training to work saving the Army thousands of dollars while curbing fraud, waste and abuse.

Keeping pace with the mission, two new contracting experts, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Smith, Alliance, Neb., assigned to 1st TSC information technology, and Sgt. 1st Class William Perkins, Corpus Christi, Texas, assigned to the 164th Quartermaster Group at Camp Buehring, were recently awarded their COR credentials by the 408th Contracting Support Brigade.

The 408th CSB initiated an intensive COR management program last summer to identify, train, appoint and manage CORs in an effort to improve and enhance contract oversight. Since then, nearly 200 CORs have been trained and appointed to oversee a myriad of contracts supporting Army combat operations. Their mission: Identify opportunities for the Army to save money and ensure the Army receives the goods and services it's paying for.

"With the increase in contractor support to our deployed forces, the COR performs a vital role in the support of the war effort. Sergeants Smith and Perkins are just two of the many CORs in Kuwait who are true stewards of the taxpayers' money and integral to the mission," said Brig. Gen. James Hodge, U.S. Army Materiel Command (Forward) commanding general.

Working as the COR for a copier leasing contract, Smith has already conducted an analysis of copier requirements that demonstrated a potential annual savings to the Army of more than $100,000. His research revealed that more efficient copier placements could improve productivity and save money.

Smith's recommendations to consolidate underutilized copiers; eliminate machines; replace over-utilized machines with new, larger capacity models; and exchange several copiers in favor of less expensive models improved service while reducing operating costs.

"The course wasn't difficult and was great as an overview. I was surprised at the recognition. I just fixed something that needed to be fixed," Smith said.

Perkins is COR for a critical fuel storage contract. He received specialized training on identifying and investigating possible discrepancies in a contractor's fuel storage records and challenged the contractor's explanation of the shortages.

Perkins' sharp eye on bookkeeping and operations led to significant changes to the contractor's staffing and operating procedures and potential savings to the Army of more than $100,000.

"It was nothing more than basic accounting," said Perkins, "Two and two wasn't adding up . . . it came up in the monthly audit. The contractor put the brakes on the subcontractor and changed standard operating procedures so this won't happen again," Perkins said.

CORs in Kuwait receive intensive training and are certified and appointed by the contracting officer to assist in the technical monitoring and administration of contracts with civilian providers. Although CORs can be employed on all types of contracts, they are extremely useful in the more complex service contracts, said Lt. Col. Doug Kiser, commander, U.S. Army Contracting Command-Kuwait.

"Training on-line and in a classroom prepares them for their duties to serve as the 'eyes and ears' of the contracting command," said Kiser.

Like Smith and Perkins, hundreds of Soldiers and civil servants trained in contract management are serving in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. They work diligently and with little fanfare to ensure our troops have the means to succeed, according to Hodge.

"This mission is critical to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Their work ensures the Army receives required supplies and services at the right time, in the right place and at the right price," said Hodge.