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Reshaping the Contingency
Contracting Military Workforce

The Army’s contracting force structure will align with the Army’s modular expeditionary force structure to provide streamlined contracting support.

Faced with limited resources, the Army continues to redefine and reshape its forces. Today’s Army is now a modular force—a power-projection force that is designed to pull resources of all types from any part of the world, depending on the factors of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations (METT–TC). As the Army continues to restructure to deter, deny, and defeat U.S. adversaries anywhere in the world, the contingency contracting military workforce is redefining itself to meet the requirements of supporting both conventional and unconventional forces.

This reshaping requires an integrated acquisition, logistics, and technology (AL&T) capability that includes contracting. It also needs trained and experienced noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to serve in AL&T contracting positions and, in particular, a contracting military occupational specialty (MOS) to prepare those Soldiers.

AL&T Modular Support

To provide an integrated acquisition, logistics, and technology capability that includes contracting, the Army Materiel Command Forward—now called the Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB)—will expand its mission and add AL&T capabilities to its existing logistics functions. The core AL&T forward-projected capabilities will include standardized and centralized AL&T planning, doctrine, concepts, solutions, and processes in areas such as test and evaluation, the Army Oil Analysis Program, brigade logistics support teams, the Rapid Fielding Initiative, the Field Assistance in Science and Technology program, spiral developments, the Logistics Assistance Program, total life-cycle management, and the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program.

The AL&T Modular Support Concept is consistent with the transformation requirements established in the Army Campaign Plan adopted in April 2004. The concept will increase Army strategic responsiveness and enhance operational and tactical agility across the full spectrum of operations—from homeland defense and national disaster response to major combat operations—by providing the Army service component commander and theater sustainment commander with a single node for orchestrating critical AL&T capabilities. The contingency contracting force will realign as part of the AFSB into a structure of modular headquarters contracting commanders/principal assistants responsible for contracting (PARCs) and modular contracting battalions and teams. [The contracting commander and PARC is one position.]

The Force Design Update (FDU) process will produce an Army contracting force structure that aligns with the Army’s modular expeditionary force structure by providing streamlined contracting support. [The FDU process is an Army Training and Doctrine Command-led process that supports changes in organizational designs.] Mission contracting planners will benefit from a significant modular contracting force structure, allowing the theater contracting commander/PARC to plan and execute support for Army and Joint forces operating throughout the theater.

Mission commanders requiring contracting capabilities will be able to use time-phased force deployment lists to identify additional AL&T contracting teams or battalions, based on mission requirements from all components. Army planners will be able to deploy additional contracting commanders/PARCs, as required, to sustain multiple simultaneous operations.

Having the capability to purchase supplies, equipment, services, and minor construction in and around the mission area is vital to mission success and must be integrated into logistics support. This capability reduces the logistics tail and thereby frees limited transportation assets to support other missions; that makes contingency contracting a formidable force multiplier for the combatant commander. Contingency contracting gives the commander operational flexibility to bring additional combat systems to fight and win decisively. A brigade combat team must have the capability to deploy and sustain itself for the first 30 days of an operation. To achieve this goal, innovative and creative support is required, and contracting is one of the many force multipliers to make that happen.

An MOS for Procurement NCOs

The FDU structure establishes a number of positions for AL&T Procurement NCOs. To fill these positions, the Army needs a sufficient number of trained, experienced, and certified AL&T procurement NCOs in Active and Reserve components to support its core contracting mission.

Today, procurement NCOs are in either MOS 92A, automated logistical specialist, or MOS 92Y, unit supply specialist, at skill levels 3, 4, or 5 and hold additional skill identifier (ASI) G1, contracting agent. They are qualified to perform 3- to 4-year tours in contracting, supporting both conventional and unconventional forces as force enablers. The Air Force and the Marine Corps have well-defined and -established career fields in contracting for their NCOs. Now the Army is developing its own contracting MOS for NCOs in the grades of E–6 through E–9 (staff sergeant through sergeant major). The proposed MOS 51C, contracting, is awaiting approval by the Army G–1 and G–3. The Army Acquisition Support Center is working with the Army Staff to resolve all issues. Following approval, the MOS 51C will be officially stood up by fiscal year 2008.

Currently, procurement NCOs, after serving a tour of duty in contracting, have to return to their basic branches to remain competitive for promotions. Procurement NCOs in contracting acquire highly perishable skills and training, and the Army and the contracting community lose valuable, trained assets when these NCOs return to their basic branches. In a contracting environment characterized by frequent changes in laws and regulations, the Army needs continuity and stability in all of its military contracting personnel, including its NCOs.

Since the beginning of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, procurement NCOs have been the second most deployed Soldiers, behind Infantry personnel. They have received 12 Bronze Star Medals and 1 Combat Action Badge for their services. Procurement NCOs supplement the number of contingency contracting officers (area of concentration 51C) by reducing back-to-back deployments (and thus the operating tempo) of contingency contracting officers (CCOs), planning and working on complex contracting actions, becoming warranted CCOs, and receiving the same level of Defense Acquisition University training as officers and emergency-essential Department of the Army civilians in the contract specialist (1102) series.

In the future, each AL&T procurement NCO will be assessed in his original MOS in his eighth year of service (but no earlier than E–6). Unlike its sister services, the Army will delay accession into the AL&T procurement NCO series in order to allow NCOs to gain the basic fundamentals of soldiering and leadership and operational and doctrinal experience (following the Special Operations Forces model).

MOS 51C Professional Development Model

Newly accessed NCOs in the grades E–6 (staff ser-geant) through E–7 (sergeant first class) with less than 10 years of active service must successfully complete the following Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses in contracting within a set timeframe—

• CON 100, Shaping Smart Business Arrangements.
• CON 110, Mission Support Planning.
• CON 111, Mission Strategy Execution.
• CON 112, Mission Performance Assessment.
• CON 120, Mission Focus Contracting.
• CON 234, Contingency Contracting.
• CON 237, Simplified Acquisition Procedures.

After the AL&T procurement NCO has successfully served his first or second tour in contracting, he will attend the Air Force’s Mission Ready Airman Contracting Apprentice Course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, which is equivalent to the Army’s Basic NCO Course (BNCOC). This 8-week course will provide the AL&T procurement NCO with additional contracting technical skills and state-of-the-art computer-based training. On graduation from the Mission Ready Airman Contracting Apprentice Course, the AL&T procurement NCO will receive his certification for course completion and DAU level I or II certification in contracting, if the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) prerequisites have been met.

The DAWIA prerequisites are mandatory DAU education and experience requirements for all civilians, officers, and NCOs in the Army acquisition workforce who need certification at various acquisition disciplines. For example, an acquisition work-force member must successfully complete the mandatory DAU level I contracting training, 1 year of documented experience and meet DAWIA education requirements in order to receive DAU level I certification in contracting.

After completing their third or fourth tour in contracting, promotable E–6 and E–7 AL&T procurement NCOs will attend the Army Logistics Management College’s Army Acquisition Intermediate Contracting Course at Huntsville, Alabama, which is the Army’s Advanced NCO Course (ANCOC) equivalent. After successfully completing the 4-week ALMC course, the AL&T procurement NCO will receive a course completion certificate and a DAU level II or III certificate in contracting if all DAWIA perquisites have been met. Once the AL&T procurement NCO reaches the grade of E–8 (master sergeant) or E–9 (sergeant major), he will attend (if he has not already done so) the 2-week DAU course CON 353, Advanced Business Solutions for Mission Support, which is a DAU level III contracting certification training course.

The Army Chief of Staff’s guidance is to use smaller, tailored forces. The use of low-density skill sets requires unity of effort and continuity to meet logistics challenges. Today, contracting supports the full spectrum of the battlefield, including joint, coalition, and special operations. The AFSB will be the single point for AL&T projected forward capabilities, maximizing efficiencies while providing viable support to the warfighter.

Sergeant Major Ethan A. Jones is the Sergeant Major of the Army Contracting Agency (the first person to hold that position). He previously served as the Sergeant Major of the Army Contracting Command Europe and Joint Contracting Centers, Balkans (the first person to hold these positions). He holds bachelor’s degrees in mass communication from Paine College and in public relations from Clark-Atlanta University and is pursuing a master’s degree in acquisition and contracting management from American Graduate University in Covina, California.