Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. - Several members of Army Contracting Command-Rock Island were recently selected as winners for one of two 2012 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Awards. The winners all worked on the Small Business Set Aside solicitation for mortars and artillery through the Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems.

The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award recognizes contributions from military and civilian organizations, teams or groups, in the areas of innovation and best acquisition practices. In 2012, the two winning groups are PM CAS (Army) and the DDG 51 Shipbuilding Program Office (Navy).

Donna Ponce, contracting officer in the Artillery & Mortars Branch said that PM CAS submitted the nomination for the award. "I was so honored that they submitted it," said Ponce. "I had no idea they were nominating the team. It's really nice that everyone was recognized because it was truly a team effort. This acquisition was a huge undertaking which resulted in the award of more than 30 small business contracts."

According to the nomination, extraordinary demand due to surge and foreign military sales requirements for artillery and mortar items during the past five years depleted five-year production contracts within two years, particularly small business items. The typical acquisition process was too lengthy and costly to address these demands.

According to the awards nomination, a single acquisition strategy was successfully implemented for the procurement of 53 artillery and mortar components totaling $2.7 billion. This strategy was executed by issuing only two requests for proposals: one from ACC-RI and one from the Picatinny contracting center.

The strategy, a long-term, 10-year, multiple award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, best value, 100 percent small business set-aside features many contracting tools not typically utilized in ammunition procurement. The innovative strategy has created flexible and efficient buying that can deliver cost-effective ammunition while enhancing opportunity to small business.

From start to finish, there were several interns assigned to work on the team. "It was a great learning experience for new interns that were able to work on something from pre-solicitation through award," said Ponce. "It was really a neat experience."

An awards ceremony is scheduled for Friday at the Pentagon and there will be five people receiving the award: Ponce; Rene Kiebler, PM CAS Deputy Project Manager; Maryellen Lukac, PM CAS Director, Business Management Division; Martin Moratz, PM CAS Chief, Conventional Ammunition Division, and Arnold Rappaport, PM CAS Artillery Team Leader.

In addition to the ceremony, Ponce and Rappaport have been asked present at the Senior Leaders' Acquisition Training Conference at Fort Belvoir on Nov. 14.

"They want us to do a 15-minute presentation on lessons learned and what we did in executing the principals of Better Buying Power that led to us receiving these awards," said Ponce.

ACC-RI Executive Director Michael Hutchison said he is proud of the dedication and thoughtfulness that members of the team showed throughout the past four years.

"The Packard Award is a well-deserved honor that highlights the time and effort these team members put into this strategy," said Hutchison. "They worked diligently to help create a strategy that provides real competition for small business, an innovative buying approach, and, most importantly, cost-effective and reliable ammunition to the Warfighter."

The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition award is sponsored by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)).