By Jim Hinnant, 401st Army Field Support BrigadeJune 6, 2008
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (June 6, 2008) Ac"a,! A packed house here witnessed the first contracting support brigade change of command since the recent activation of the U.S. Army Contracting Command.
Col. Joseph L. Bass, who had commanded the brigade since June 29, 2007, relinquished command to Col. Shane Dietrich at the Training Activities Center in a morning ceremony before a crowd of well-wishers from across the installation.
The ceremony, hosted by Brig. Gen. Walter L. Davis, director of operational maneuver, U.S. Army Central, was also significant in that it marked the end of the 408th's alignment under Army Sustainment Command and its new role as a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command, under ACC.
"It really is a historic moment in the Army's history and especially for the Army Acquisition Corps..." said Col. Camille Nichols, commander, U.S. Army Expeditionary Contract Command (Provisional). "What we have done today, basically, is transfer from the Army Sustainment Command, the first command underneath the Expeditionary Contracting Command, so it's a great honor for me to stand here today representing that, as well as to accept the first unit into the ECC."
Nichols went on to say that one of the key tasks that lay ahead for Bass was for him to take his contracting experience and lessons learned in Southwest Asia to his new position as ACC chief of staff and help to shape the ECC's ability to perform any contingency contracting operation, anywhere in the world.
In his farewell remarks, Bass said that the realignment of the 408th reflected the Army's recent focus on contracting and acquisition tasks.
"A lot of things are changing. I think the Army has realized that contracting isn't something we do on the side anymore," said Bass. "The acquisition corps (and contracting) is now a huge part of the Army and isn't going away."
He said that from grass-cutting to MRAPs and Stryker Combat Vehicles, contracting touches everything the Army does. "I look at us (contracting) as another arm of the logistics force out there," Bass continued. "It's just another method of logistics and we're providing it through contracts instead of other means."
Prior to assuming command, Dietrich represented the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology here as the liaison officer to 3rd U.S. Army/Army Central. He assumed those duties here July 29, 2007.