PICATINNY ARSENAL, NJ -- The Department of Defense has recognized the Program Executive Office (PEO) Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal for developing a strategy to meet surging demands for ammunition while also delivering significant savings to the government.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta presented a 2012 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award to PEO Ammunition representative Rene Kiebler, Deputy Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems (PM CAS), during a ceremony Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C. PM CAS is part of the PEO Ammunition organization.

The David Packard Award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated superior management and accomplishment in the successful execution of one or more of the Better Buying Power acquisition efficiency initiatives, according to the defense department.

The Packard award was first awarded in 1997 in honor of the late David Packard, a former deputy secretary of defense and an advocate of excellence in defense acquisition practices. It is the highest award in DoD acquisition.

"I'm proud of the PM CAS team, and all of Team Picatinny, for their dedication to expediting technology to our service members and saving taxpayer money," said Brig. Gen. John McGuiness, Program Executive Officer Ammunition and Picatinny Senior Commander. "Efficiency initiatives are ingrained in our culture at Picatinny, and it's important that we continue to look for innovative improvements in our products and processes."

This is the second year in a row that a Picatinny organization has received a Packard award. Last year a Project Manager Maneuver Ammunition Systems team garnered a Packard for its acquisition efforts while providing Soldiers with a more reliable and better performing round, the 5.56 mm Enhanced Performance Round.

The PM CAS team was one of three that the defense department recognized for acquisition excellence this year.

"These three teams are at the forefront of our efforts to increase acquisition innovation and professionalism, as well as efficiencies," said Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Aside from PM CAS, the other Packard winner was the Navy's DDG 51 Shipbuilding Program Office.

Panetta also awarded the first Better Buying Power Efficiency Award, to the Acquisition Rapid Response Medical Team for Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Casualty Evacuation.

"We hope that these efforts are also recognized by others within the department and are used as a template for increased innovation within the acquisition workforce," Kendall said.

The PM CAS team was recognized for its innovative ability to establish and implement a highly efficient buying approach for acquiring ammunition.

PM CAS is the life cycle manager for all tube-launched, indirect fire munitions (artillery/mortar) and mortar weapon systems for the Army's current and future forces.

In response to a heightened need for artillery and mortar items, the team developed a simplified strategy for the recurring production of ammunition totaling $2.7 billion, thus shortening the average time from receipt of a requirement to award of a delivery to 45 to 60 days. Before, it was 18 to 24 months.

To expedite its strategy, PM CAS reached out to the Army Contracting Command buying offices, competition advocates, small business offices and legal offices at Picatinny Arsenal and Rock Island, Ill., to collaborate in developing a single acquisition strategy that all offices could support. With the assistance of these organizations, an agile acquisition strategy was born.

As a result, a multiple award, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ), best value, 100 percent small business set-aside, long-term (10-year) strategy for recurring production of ammunition components was developed.

Although IDIQ contracting is not new, the implementation for buying ammunition was a major paradigm change from the traditional, five-year (base and four 1 year options) historical approach.

Under the new approach, an estimated $60 million will be saved over the 10-year contract life in government labor cost avoidance.