ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Several members of Army Contracting Command-Rock Island recently garnered one of two 2012 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Awards.Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced the winners Nov. 2. The winners all worked on the Small Business Set Aside solicitation for mortars and artillery through the Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems.According to the announcement, the Packard award is "a prestigious Department of Defense recognition of an organization that has demonstrated superior management and accomplishment in the successful execution of one or more of the Better Buying Power acquisition efficiency initiatives." It recognizes contributions from military and civilian organizations, teams or groups in the areas of innovation and best acquisition practices.Donna Ponce, contracting officer in the PM CAS Artillery and 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 award citation, 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 ACC-New Jersey.The extraordinary demand was due to a surge in foreign military sales requirements for artillery and mortar items during the past five years which had 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.The strategy, a 10-year multiple award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, best value, 100 percent small business set aside featured many contracting tools not typically used in ammunition procurement.The innovative strategy created flexible and efficient buying that can deliver costeffective ammunition while enhancing opportunity to small business.Several interns were 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."Awarded at the Pentagon ceremony were: Ponce, ACC-RI; 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 invited to the Senior Leaders' Acquisition Training Conference at Fort Belvoir, Va., 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.Michael Hutchison, ACC-RI executive director and soon to be ACC deputy to the commanding general, 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 war fighter."The Packard award is sponsored by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The other award recipient recognized was the DDG 51 Shipbuilding Program Office (Navy).