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The Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Contracting NCO

Noncommissioned officers in a new military occupational specialty will support the Army’s increasing need for contingency contracting capability in the modular force.

The way ahead for the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) and the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) includes training and educating members of the Army’s newest military occupational specialty (MOS)—51C, Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Contracting Noncommissioned Officer (NCO)—and integrating them into the Army’s force pool.

The MOS 51C AL&T Contracting NCOs will be assigned to the Army Sustainment Command (ASC)—formerly the Army Field Support Command—at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. ASC became operational on 1 October 2006 as a subordinate command of the Army Materiel Command. AL&T Contracting NCOs will perform their contingency contracting mission while assigned to modular contracting units, including contracting support brigades, contingency contracting battalions, senior contingency contracting teams, and contingency contracting teams. USAASC will be the proponent for MOS 51C and will be responsible for the life-cycle management process of the Army’s new Contracting NCO Corps. The life-cycle management process consists of recruitment, retention, individual training and education, distribution, sustainment, professional development, and separation. AL&T Contracting NCOs will receive the same Defense Acquisition University (DAU) training opportunities in the contracting field that are available to the Army’s acquisition officers and civilians.

Commands and agencies that play a vital role in supporting, training, assigning, providing doctrine for, deploying, and developing the AL&T NCO Corps, in addition to USAASC and DAU, include the—

  • Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.
  • Army Materiel Command.
  • Army Special Operations Command.
  • Department of the Army G–3/5/7 (Training).
  • Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
  • Army Combined Arms Support Command.
  • Army Combined Arms Center.
  • Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Futures Office.
  • Army Logistics Management College.
  • Air Force Contracting, Training, and Flight Academy.
  • Army Contracting Agency.
  • Army Human Resources Command (HRC).
  • Contracting community.

Who is Eligible?

NCOs in any career management field (CMF), in both the Active and Reserve components, who meet reclassification prerequisites for MOS 51C are eligible. They must be in the ranks of staff sergeant or sergeant first class with less than 10 years of active Federal service. They must submit a recommendation letter signed by a battalion commander (lieutenant colonel or higher), copies of college transcripts or a diploma from an accredited institution, and copies of training certification related to contract training, if applicable. Each NCO must submit verification of a security clearance; meet height and weight standards in accordance with AR 600–9, The Army Weight Control Program; exhibit stability in personal affairs in accordance with AR 600–20, Army Command Policy; be competitive for promotion; and have had a successful tour in a leadership role and no derogatory information in their Official Military Personnel File.

The official retention criteria for MOS 51C will be published and announced through HRC’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Notifications of Future Changes and sent out through command retention channels.

How Are 51C Soldiers Trained?

The DAU contracting curriculum for level I contracting certification (obtained through distance learning) serves as the advanced individual training (AIT) and MOS 51C award-producing training. An NCO who meets reclassification prerequisites for MOS 51C is given a contracting assignment and placed in a nondeployable status for 120 days so he can complete the following DAU level I contracting courses—

  • CON 110, Mission Support Planning.
  • CON 111, Mission Support Execution.
  • CON 112, Mission Performance Assessment.

After being awarded MOS 51C, the Soldier will be required to successfully complete CON 234, Contingency Contracting (through resident training), and other contracting resident courses as part of mission requirements and certification.

Once the AL&T contracting NCO (E–6 or E–7) has successfully completed at least a 1- to 2-year tour in contracting, he will attend the Air Force’s Mission Airmen Ready Contract Apprentice Course (MARCAC) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. This 8-week course is the equivalent of the Army’s Basic NCO Course (BNCOC). The MARCAC provides the Soldier with refresher technical training and computer lab-based training.

After completing tours in contracting, the staff sergeant (promotable) or sergeant first class AL&T contracting NCO will attend the Army Logistics Management College’s Army Intermediate Contracting Course (AICC) in Huntsville, Alabama. This is equivalent to the Army’s Advanced NCO Course (ANCOC). Those NCOs who have successfully completed BNCOCs or ANCOCs in their respective branches before they are selected for reclassification also will be afforded the opportunity to attend MARCAC or AICC or take DAU contracting courses. All AL&T Contracting NCOs will meet contracting commanders’ and proponents’ requirements for training, certification, career development, and mission.

All AL&T Contracting NCOs in all Army components are eligible to receive DAU contracting certifications in contracting at levels I, II, and III. All Department of Defense personnel must meet the experience and training requirements set forth by DAU and the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act before they can become certified in any acquisition discipline.

TRADOC and the Army Sergeants Major Academy establish educational and training standards for the Army’s enlisted force. They identify core courses and training that complement and supplement institutional instruction. USAASC has developed and will implement career progression standards and a professional development model for AL&T contracting NCOs. These professional development programs are designed to train, support professional growth, provide operational experience, and enhance leadership competencies throughout the Soldiers’ careers. This includes professional certification, credentialing, and degree-related training for the AL&T contracting NCO and other acquisition disciplines. As the CMF 51 series matures and future concept plans for force structure are developed and supported, AL&T Contracting NCOs may become service school instructors, Chief Personnel Proponent NCO, HRC Career Development and Training Managers, Command Sergeant Major of the Army Acquisition Corps, and even Senior Enlisted Advisor at the Defense Contract Management Agency.

As MOS 51C matures, AL&T Contracting NCOs will provide continuity and stability for the Army’s military contingency contracting workforce. They will become contingency contracting technical experts and trainers for newly accessed acquisition officers (area of concentration 51C) and Soldiers who reclassify into MOS 51C. In the first 4 to 5 years of their careers, AL&T contracting NCOs will require more technical training than leadership training because their focus will be on mission support, deployments, and contracting statutes, laws, and regulations.

The AL&T Contracting NCO personnel force structure was developed to support the Army’s modular force and design. Contracting units and teams are modular and are a part of the Army Force Generation cycle and will be evaluated and assessed during joint exercises and National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center, and Joint Maneuver Training Center rotations.

Army contracting activities acquire technology, supplies, and services for our warfighters and our Nation through responsive and innovative support. Training and leadership are required to create strong, viable, and competent acquisition teams. The NCO Corps is, and always will be, the backbone of the Army, and now the Army Acquisition Corps and the Army Materiel Command will bring AL&T modular capabilities holistically to the battlefield through the Army Acquisition NCO Corps.

Sergeant Major Ethan A. Jones serves as the Army’s Senior Contracting Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) and Principal Technical NCO Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology and the Military Deputy. He also serves as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Director of the Army Contracting Agency. He is level III-certified in contracting. Sergeant Major Jones has a B.A. degree in public relations and mass communication from Paine University and is pursuing a master’s degree in acquisition management from American Graduate University.