JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command contracting professionals are playing a key role in an initiative to allow garrison commanders greater visibility over contract expenditures and support agreements.
The contract review board initiative now underway established four two-person teams from the MICC's two brigades and two field directorates. The teams are facilitating a train-to-trainer program from the MICC office, U.S. Army Instalation Management Command and IMCOM's mission partners to standardize the review process for installation contracts.
"Team MICC is thoroughly immersed in supporting the development of installation-level campaign plans that detail all service requirements and courses of action to eliminate redundant contracts, reduce cost drivers, consolidate requirements, increase savings, develop relevant contracting vehicles and increase buying power," said Brig. Gen. Christine Beeler, MICC commanding general.
The initiative catalyzed by a review of several mission critical contracts supporting the Army's Aviation Center of Excellence in 2019 at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon reporting of efficiencies gained from the review through command channels, Army Materiel Command directed IMCOM to implement the review process throughout its garrisons. In mid-December, executives from the MICC and IMCOM Acquisition Directorate met to finalize the contract review board process that included discussions on the deployment and training timeline by installation over the three following months.
Jennifer Hastedt is a supervisory procurement analyst for the MICC at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston who serves as a CRB team member. She explained that the CRB team is comprised of MICC personnel possessing strong data analytic skills, astute business acumen, a diverse contracting background, and a strong desire to train. Joining the CRB teams at each of their training locations is a representative from IMCOM.
The CRB teams' pilot process began in earnest with visits to Fort Benning and Fort Gordon, Georgia, Dec. 16-20. With the support of MICC contracting directors at those installations and in tandem with the local IMCOM garrison commanders, the collective teams conducted the acquisition review process in an effort to gain total visibility over their expenditures for contracts and other support agreements within their garrison footprint.
At Fort Benning, the CRB team training included the assigned contract management support officer, contracting professionals, contracting officer representatives and resource managers. Over two days, the cohesive team reviewed the performance work statement for the portable latrine contract, an associated task order, and began a review of the Fort Benning base operations contract. As part of its analysis, the team identified potential revisions to contract line item number structures to provide clarity; realignment of quality assurance and surveillance plans to contract deliverables; and greater detail in the contractor performance assessments reporting systems.
The exchange of lessons learned and best practices between Fort Benning and Fort Gordon leaders helped set the CRB team up for success at its second training stop. Participants in the CRB initiative at Fort Gordon included the contracting office, department of public works, directorate of plans, training, mobilization and security, Army Community Services, and directorate of human resources.
The team conducted detailed reviews of the Fort Gordon base operations and human resources contracts, associated performance work statements, and contract line item number structure. The team also looked for opportunities to change contract types and realign contract performance periods to find efficiencies.
"The pilot demonstrated the contract review database needed to be more standardized for reporting and decision making," Hastedt said. "Participants at Fort Benning and Fort Gordon provided outstanding suggestions for standardization of data collection. The CRB team leads collaborated with MICC and IMCOM headquarters to implement the suggested updates."
She added those suggestions led to the creation of a user-friendly form to answer standard questions for each contract action that provides visibility to senior leaders to identify trends and make decisions; a standardized out-brief to share results with local garrison commanders; and a secure forum to consolidate comments allowing team members to capture best practices and lessons learned.
Capitalizing on insights from December's pilot reviews, teams conducted additional visits Jan. 10-14 with garrison leaders to review and assess acquisition portfolios at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; the Presidio of Monterey, California; and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In preparation, the MICC Contracting Operations Directorate prepared data analytics for contracting directors to review with garrison commanders and their staffs at those locations.
CRB teams are set to continue their visits with garrison leaders and their staffs at another 23 locations in late January and February. Hastedt said teams will spend two days at each location training the review process dissecting three to five local contracts.
"The first day of training focuses on one or two contracts for which the review can be completed within the day. Each site will review the base operations contract, if there is one," Hastedt said. "From experience, that contract will be the last one reviewed during the training due to complexity, size, scope and contractor deliverables."
She added that following departure of the team, review of any additional contracts will continue at the garrison level with support from the local MICC office as part of a contract review plan garrison commanders submit to IMCOM headquarters, which includes periodic scorecards demonstrating progress.
Col. Charles May, the MICC CRB program manager, said the collaboration between IMCOM and MICC is tremendous. He also provided that the garrison commanders who have already trained have expressed positive reactions to the process and clearly understand the management benefits to the contract reviews.