Army Contracting Command might not sound glamorous, but without ACC soldiers wouldn’t have anything.
There are more than 3,300 helicopters in the Army’s fleet, and every one of them was purchased. You can say the same thing about every spare part for those helicopters. All the parts were bought and paid for. Every single purchase is made possible by people inside a particular Redstone Arsenal building. “It’s a Command that supports a globally deployed Army,” says Major General James E. Simpson, the Commanding General of the Army Contracting Command.
The sign in the lobby of the ACC says it all. If a soldier needs it, ACC buys it. “Worldwide we’ve got about 6,000 people in about 105 locations all over the world, putting contracts out every day to support our war fighters,” says General Simpson.
ACC does all the contracts for the Army Materiel Command, which comes up with the specifications for whatever it is that’s needed. AMC essentially deals with everything a Soldier uses, wears, eats and rides. For all the gear that AMC deals with there had to be requests for proposals, bids and some sort of contract drawn up and executed. “But making sure that the oversight is there, making sure that we are getting the best bang for our taxpayers buck,” says the AMC Commander.
It is a lot of money. Some 160-thousand contract actions annually involve more than 57-billion dollars. 11 percent of all Federal contracts are handled by Army Contracting Command. It is big business, and the people at ACC Headquarters are well aware that mistakes aren’t an option. For several reasons the work ACC does has to be right. One reason stands out. “Our sons and daughters are out there. We’re supporting them, support the products that they need. It’s a huge mission. We cannot go to sleep at the wheel. We’ve got to be focused daily, mission focused, doing our job,” says ACC Commander, Major General James E. Simpson.
The General also says the way to make ACC successful is to hire good people, train them, and then retain them. He says it’s his job to provide leadership in that effort. At Redstone Arsenal ACC includes both the Headquarters and ACC Redstone. In all, there are more than a 1,000 civilians and soldiers working for ACC on the base.